Obedience: Book summary and reviews of Obedience by Jacqueline Yallop

Obedience

A Novel

by Jacqueline Yallop

Obedience by Jacqueline Yallop X
Obedience by Jacqueline Yallop
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2012
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Set in contemporary and World War II France, this is the story of Sister Bernard: her forbidden love, her uncertain faith, and her guilt-ridden past.

A once-bustling convent in the South of France is closing, leaving behind three elderly nuns. Forced, for the first time, to confront the community that she betrayed decades ago, Sister Bernard relives her life during the war.

At thirty, Sister Bernard can hear the voice of God - strident, furious, and personal. When a young Nazi soldier, a member of the German occupying forces, asks her to meet him in the church in secret one evening, she agrees. And so begins the horrifying and passionate love affair that will deafen the heavens and define her life, tempting her into duplicity. Obedience is a powerful exploration of one woman's struggle to reconcile her aching need to be loved with her fear of God's wrath.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Intense, sometimes to the point of delirium, Yallop's exploration of the space between innocence and guilt, of complicity and delusion has a lingering power for readers prepared to be patient." - Kirkus Reviews

"The conflict depicted here has real import... Great for book clubs." - Library Journal

"An intense and powerful story... Wartime stories and nuns' tales are common enough but Obedience manages to be something different. [It] is a tightly written study of betrayal, faith, loneliness and desire. The coolness and restraint of her prose seems ideally suited to the story's setting and its themes." - New Zealand Herald

"The consequences to Sister Bernard and to her community are dire, and Yallop's fiction forces us into an intensely troubling moral voyeurism. There is a chilliness to her narrative: the worst of human nature, from indifference to brutality, is the fabric of her coolly elegant fiction. That detachment makes Obedience a disturbing read. If you think the purpose of fiction is to soothe or beguile, this probably isn't for you." - The Telegraph (UK)

"There are plenty of religious references in Obedience, but it is the human experience of love, desire, guilt and loneliness that are at the heart of the novel. Yallop writes with real flair about these emotions, and it is some measure of her skill that she turns a nun's failed hopes into a compelling and quietly devastating story about a woman destroyed by her faith." - The Independent (UK)

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More Information

Jacqueline Yallop is the author of Kissing Alice, shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize. Obedience is her American debut. Formerly curator of the John Ruskin Museum in Sheffield, England, she now lives in the South of France. Visit her website at www.jacquelineyallop.com.

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