Obedience: A Novel

Obedience: A Novel

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by Jacqueline Yallop
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

-Hilary Mantel
"An intensely imagined novel about one of the defining questions of the century just past: where and how we choose to draw the line between innocence and guilt, ignorance and complicity. Obedience also asks us to consider what ghastly harm is committed in the name of love. It's rare to find a book that is seemingly so simple, but is really ambiguous and thought-provoking."
-Stewart O'Nan
"With delicacy and restraint, Jacqueline Yallop lets us get close to her characters yet never judges them—crucial, when dealing with the self- deluded and the self-righteous. Obedience is the best kind of Occupation romance: forbidden, tortured and indelible."
-Beverly Donofrio
"Obedience will give you no answers about good and evil, innocence, guilt, holiness, God, or obedience. What you will receive is a riveting story that haunts and provokes and subverts easily held assumptions, tosses them in the air and then makes you keep thinking long after you've read the last page."
-Catherine Gildiner
"The character of Sister Bernard is a Madame Bovary of the convent world. Her fantasy and insatiable need for love prove to be far greater than her ability to analyze character. While superficially simplistic, her relationship with God is complex and she is capable of battling God with the strength of Joan of Arc. These contradictions in her character are seamless and a complex and unforgettable character emerges."
-Diane Schoemperlen
"The deceptively quiet writing style of this compelling novel operates in perfect counterpoint to the intense drama of the story it reveals. A thoughtful and troubling look at the consequences of love, faith, blame, and betrayal, with the ferocious voice of God hovering above it all."
From the Publisher
"An intensely imagined novel about one of the defining questions of the century just past: where and how we choose to draw the line between innocence and guilt, ignorance and complicity. Obedience also asks us to consider what ghastly harm is committed in the name of love. It's rare to find a book that is seemingly so simple, but is really ambiguous and thought-provoking." — Hilary Mantel, Man Booker-Prize winning author of Wolf Hall

"With delicacy and restraint, Jacqueline Yallop lets us get close to her characters yet never judges them—crucial, when dealing with the self- deluded and the self-righteous. Obedience is the best kind of Occupation romance: forbidden, tortured and indelible." — Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily Alone

"Yallop's exploration of the space between innocence and guilt, of complicity and delusion has a lingering power." — Kirkus Reviews

"Obedience will give you no answers about good and evil, innocence, guilt, holiness, God, or obedience. What you will receive is a riveting story that haunts and provokes and subverts easily held assumptions, tosses them in the air and then makes you keep thinking long after you've read the last page." — Beverly Donofrio, author of Riding in Cars with Boys

"The character of Sister Bernard is a Madame Bovary of the convent world. Her fantasy and insatiable need for love prove to be far greater than her ability to analyze character. While superficially simplistic, her relationship with God is complex and she is capable of battling God with the strength of Joan of Arc. These contradictions in her character are seamless and a complex and unforgettable character emerges." — Catherine Gildiner, author of After the Falls

"The deceptively quiet writing style of this compelling novel operates in perfect counterpoint to the intense drama of the story it reveals. A thoughtful and troubling look at the consequences of love, faith, blame, and betrayal, with the ferocious voice of God hovering above it all." — Diane Schoemperlen, author of Our Lady of the Lost and Found

Library Journal
Part of a paperback series aimed at introducing American readers to new voices from around the world, this book takes place at a convent in southern France that must finally close its doors. Among the three gray-haired nuns still there is Sister Bernard, who reflects on a terrible act of betrayal she committed during World War II. Craving human love, she had an affair with a German soldier that has wider repercussions. Yallop is author of the McKitterick-shortlisted Kissing Alice; great for book clubs.
Kirkus Reviews
A nun falls from grace in Occupied France, and the ripples extend across generations and decades, in the measured U.S. debut of a perceptive British writer. Pieced together like a mosaic, Yallop's deceptively low-key, sometimes-oblique story of confused passion proceeds at its own thoughtful pace. Its world is a convent in an unnamed French village, its timescale more than half a century, starting during World War II when 30-year-old Sister Bernard is ruined by her affair with a German soldier. In her blind rapture, she gives him the name of a Resistance figure, thereby bringing torture and death to the small community. Later she gives birth to a boy. Many years afterward, now in her 90s, Sister Bernard is one of a handful of nuns leaving the convent as it closes. Although her shameful past still lives on in the collective memory, her life is about hoping to hear again the voice of God, once a constant accompaniment, and waiting for the visit of a newly discovered relative. Blessed or cursed, Sister Bernard spends her final days reaching for her God while still inextricably devoted to her distant lover. 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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101559765
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/31/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
804,086
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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