Disobedience, by Naomi Alderman

Second paragraph of third chapter:

And there are those who say: chaotic. This interpretation seems to allow the words, which are all that we have of the beginning, their voice. Tohu vavohu. Higgledy-piggledy. Upside down. Inside out. Hither and thither. The Creator wanted to show us the first contraction of all-that-is. All modes of expression were open to Him, every human sense. He chose words—tohu vavohu. Tumble-jumble.

I’ve read two other books by Naomi Alderman, a Doctor Who story and a novel where all women have the power to strike down their enemies, and enjoyed them both. Disobedience is not sf; it’s a closely observed story of a Jewish woman returning to London from New York after her rabbi father’s death, and becoming simultaneously enmeshed in and rejected by the dynamics of the Jewish community in which she grew up, where the new rabbi is her cousin who has meanwhile married the girl she loved as a teenager. The dynamics of grief and disruption of a conservative community are very well described; the Hendon synagogue isn’t quite the Satmar sect of Unorthodox, but that actually means it is recognisably closer to the Irish Catholicism that I experienced growing up. Recommended. You can get it here.

This was the top unread book by a woman on my shelves. Next on that pile is Madam Secretary, by Madeleine Albright.