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The Choice

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529425765

Price: £10.99

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A rich and powerful exploration of desire, sin and redemption, by one of our best chroniclers of faith in the 21st century.

“I enjoyed it enormously. The story is so interesting, the theme so important and pertinent, and the fluency and lightness of touch so engaging to read.” PHILIP PULLMAN

“A novel that probes any number of aggressive varieties of moralism, while testing the reader’s own moral alertness for rigour, realism and generosity. An engrossing, three-dimensional, grown-up narrative.” ROWAN WILLIAMS

“An irresistibly readable, thoughtful and characteristically witty examination of the quandaries and compromises faced by the Church of England in an era of decline . . . I loved this book for its lightness of touch about serious subjects and for dialogue that glitters like clashing rapiers.” MIRANDA SEYMOUR

As a woman in the early 1980s, Clarissa Phipps is unable to pursue her priestly vocation. Instead, she joins the BBC, where she is sent to interview the artist Seward Wemlock about the panels he is painting for an ancient Cheshire church.

“A serious and important writer” ROSE TREMAIN

Thirty years on, now rector of that same church, she chances upon Brian, the chief bell-ringer and husband of her closest friend, fondling fifteen-year-old David. David claims they are in love, but Clarissa is obliged to act. Will she choose friendship or conscience, sympathy or her duty of care?

The fallout from that choice forces her to reflect on past concerns over Wemlock’s relationship with his teenage models. Had she heeded the whispers at the time, how many lives – her own included – would have turned out differently?

The Choice is a rich and powerful exploration of desire, sin and redemption, questioning whether it’s possible, let alone prudent, to separate the art from the artist, which reaches to the heart of the contemporary culture wars. Richly comic and deeply compassionate, it is a remarkable synthesis of the sacred and profane.

“At a time when British fiction has never been more timorous about tackling novels of ideas, Michael Arditti has produced one worthy of Iris Murdoch and Graham Greene. Brilliantly ambiguous, waspishly witty and thoroughly enjoyable, this is Michael Arditti’s own masterpiece to date” AMANDA CRAIG

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Reviews

At a time when British fiction has never been more timorous about tackling novels of ideas, Michael Arditti has produced one worthy of Iris Murdoch and Graham Greene . . . Brilliantly ambiguous, waspishly witty and thoroughly enjoyable, this is Michael Arditti's own masterpiece to date.
AMANDA CRAIG
Michael Arditti's magnificent novel is the first to place a woman priest at the centre of what proves to be an irresistibly readable, thoughtful and characteristically witty examination of the quandaries and compromises faced by the Church of England in an era of decline . . . I loved this book for its lightness of touch about serious subjects and for dialogue that glitters like clashing rapiers.
MIRANDA SEYMOUR
A book that probes any number of aggressive varieties of moralism, while testing the reader's own moral alertness for rigour, realism and generosity. An engrossing, three-dimensional, grown-up narrative.
ROWAN WILLIAMS
A serious and important writer
ROSE TREMAIN
I enjoyed it enormously. The story is so interesting, the theme so important and pertinent, and the fluency and lightness of touch so engaging to read.
PHILIP PULLMAN
In a novel bursting with intellectual richness and joyously acidic dialogue, it's fitting he ends on a deliciously poised note - a question rather than an answer
Jude Crook, The Spectator
An absorbing novel, a mature and important work . . . [Arditti] has given us a novel very much for our time, good enough to be for all time, too
Allan Massie, The Scotsman
Past sins, present values, forgiveness and redemption all inform this subtle modern morality tale . . . A compelling read.
Peter Stanford, Observer
The Choice is an intelligent and entertaining novel that handles lightly problems of great moral weight. Clarissa faces many hard choices and unearths many horrors, but in the end, for her and for the reader, it is all worth it.
Christopher Shrimpton, Guardian
Arditti's fondness for comic flourishes adds levity to what is not infrequently a discomforting exploration of art, religion and morality - one that, with the fate of artist Eric Gill's oeuvre back In the headlines, feels very current
Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
Arditti has delivered a complex moral fable with skill and aplomb
Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday
Challenging, mischievous and enormously satisfying.
Neil Norman, Daily Express