LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2023
NAMED AS ONE OF GRANTA MAGAZINE'S BEST OF YOUNG BRITISH NOVELISTS 2023
A powerful, compressed masterwork for fans of Shirley Jackson and Claire-Louise Bennett
A woman moves from the place of her birth to a remote northern country to be housekeeper to her brother, whose wife has just left him. The youngest child of many siblings - more than she cares to remember - from earliest childhood she has attended to their every desire, smoothed away the slightest discomfort with perfect obedience, with the highest degree of devotion.
The country, it transpires, is the country of their family's ancestors, an obscure though reviled people. Soon after she arrives, a series of unfortunate events occurs - collective bovine hysteria; the demise of a ewe and her nearly-born lamb; a local dog's phantom pregnancy; the containment of domestic fowl; a potato blight.
She notices that the local suspicion about incomers in general seems to be directed particularly in her case. What is clear is that she is being accused of wrongdoing, but in a language she cannot understand and so cannot address. And however diligently and silently she toils in service of the community, still she feels their hostility growing, pressing at the edges of her brother's property...
Study for Obedience is a fully absorbing, beautiful and sinister portrait of becoming and unbelonging, of violence held in time and place, that enriches the reader's habitation of the world's intelligibility and its darkness. - David Hayden
Sarah Bernstein manages to combine cool, perfectly weighted prose with an extraordinary emotional sensibility. - Fiona Mozley
Sarah Bernstein's Study for Obedience is at once a languid and sometimes harrowing journey into the truth of human animals living in a small community and the need for a woman to give voice to the strange and beautiful cruelties of life. This is a unique novel that is primal and eerie, where language creates silence and vivid images reflect a kind of earthiness where our most intimate selves live. The wide praise for Bernstein's remarkable writing is well earned. - Asale Angel-Ajani, author of A Country You Can Leave
Study for Obedience
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2023
Hardback (06 Jul 2023)
Includes delivery to the United States
10+ copies available online - Usually dispatched within 7 days