Book Reviews of Disobedience

Author: Jane Hamilton
ISBN-13: 9780965068543
ISBN-10: 0965068544
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.

3.1 stars, based on 21 ratings
Publisher: Doubleday
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

5 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Disobedience on
Helpful Score: 3
Being myself both a fan of Jane Hamilton's books and a pianist, how could I not like this book?!? However, this story isn't really so much about the main character's music, as it is about the complexities that evolve in her life during the year of her affair with a fellow musician. Jane Hamilton is a master at capturing the unspoken nuances of gesture and mood that create atmosphere that is almost palpable. A great book.
reviewed Disobedience on + 139 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Very enjoyable family saga.
reviewed Disobedience on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Aa little hard to get through for me,some of Jane Hamilton\'s Books are,and some I simply devour.
reviewed Disobedience on + 54 more book reviews
Great book.
oneangel avatar reviewed Disobedience on + 43 more book reviews
This book is brand new, no marks, and has never been cracked open. I have had it and never read it. There is no picture with this decription, but the book is a large softcover, not a mass market paperback. The cover is nothing but an up-close shot of piano keys.

A wayward wife, an Oedipally obsessed e-mail snoop, a pint-sized Civil War reenactor (oops, make that living historian), and a cheerfully oblivious cuckold comprise the Shaws of Chicago, the decidedly quirky characters of Jane Hamilton's fourth novel, Disobedience. An unlikely family to fall prey to the vagaries of modern life, the Shaws are consumed with clog dancing, early music, and the War Between the States. But they do possess a computer, and when 17-year-old Henry stumbles into his mother's e-mail account and epistolary evidence of her affair with a Ukrainian violinist, he becomes consumed with this glimpse into her life as a woman, not simply a mother.

To picture my mother a lover, I had at first to break her in my mind's eye, hold her over my knee, like a stick, bust her in two. When that was done, when I had changed her like that, I could see her in a different way. I could put her through the motions like a jointed puppet, all dancy in the limbs, loose, nothing to hold her up but me.

While his mother (whom he refers to variously as Mrs. Shaw, Beth, and her e-mail sobriquet, Liza38), dallies with her pen pal, whom she calls "the companion of my body, the guest of my heart," Henry experiences his own sexual awakening; his 13-year-old sister, Elvira, retreats into gender-bending historical fantasy; and their father remains determinedly absorbed in pedagogical responsibilities.

Ironically (and not completely convincingly) narrated by an adult Henry, Disobedience has a rollicking tone somewhat at odds with the somber prospects that loom for this family. A very worldly teenager in some ways, despite the hippie wholesomeness of his family, Henry tells his tale in abundant, almost flowery prose, imagining his mother's private life with elegiac fervor. As in her earlier A Map of the World, Jane Hamilton writes with affection and insight about the darker side of apparently ordinary Midwestern folks.