This book is outstanding. It's extremely well-written and well-planned, with each chapter beginning with a quotation from a Jewish prayer or the Torah or Talmud, and moving into a short but fascinating meditation on Jewish belief, before moving on again into the story. The insights contained in these mini-meditations were very thought-provoking and gave a quite different perspective on forming and maintaining a relationship with God.
I found the characters believable, interesting, totally real, and felt the author portrayed them sympathetically, even when Ronit was scoring points off them. They formed a community like any other human community: there to help and support one another but certainly not above criticising one another or trying a bit of one-up-manship. I thought there was a lot of love and respect expressed by Naomi Alderman. And the story itself was simple but riveting and extremely well told. I felt transported into a different but welcoming world and those who peopled the book will stay in my mind for a long time, I think. An excellent and intelligent first novel; I hope she writes more.