Easter

Easter

The parish of St Mary-in-the-Vale. Hampstead is preparing for Easter. In his Palm Sunday sermon, the Vicar explains that Christ's crucifixion and redemption are taking place every day. He little suspects that, before the week is out, he and his entire congregation will be caught up in a latter-day Passion story which will tear apart their lives. Easter offers both a challenging portrait of the contemporary Church of England and a reworking of the central myth of Western culture. Its rich gallery of characters range from a Holocaust survivor and an African princess to AIDS patients and Queen Elizabeth II. Shocking events unfold against a backdrop of religious services. High Church ritual, evangelical revivalism and the ancestor-worship of the English gentry all come under scrutiny in a radical fusion of the sacred and profane.

'At a time when religion and religion-based hostilities are politically rife throughout the world, the novel of religion has an important place. Michael Arditti writes about Western Christianity, as it is manifest in the present Church of England, with pungency and satirical frankness. His style has Joycean echoes. Against a background of the conventional liturgies he places awful actualities in the lives of preachers and practitioners. Not explicitly, but in purpose and feeling, Easter is a novel on the New Testament theme of Christ's expulsion of the money-changers from the temple.' Muriel Spark

'It's a delight to find a modern novel that takes religion – and all the objections to it – seriously as a subject: the rockpool of a London parish teems with all kinds of curious life.' Philip Pullman, Sunday Times

'As in his excellent earlier novels, The Celibate and Pagan and her Parents, Michael Arditti is deliberately provocative: he reads at times like the unlikely love child of Derek Jarman and Barbara Pym, presenting a story of parish backbiting against a bleak backdrop of lust, corruption and disease. But this is a novel of such moral seriousness that, before long, one reaches for grander models. In the scale of its aspirations and the savagery of its satire, Easter reminds me of Charles Dickens. I think it is Arditti's masterpiece and one of the first important English novels of the century.' Damian Thompson, Literary Review

'Michael Arditti's new novel, with its three sections and cast of thousands mirroring the time-honoured triptych, delivers a technically impressive, emotionally moving and deeply disturbing chronicle of death and resurrection. A profoundly and passionately religious novel.' Peter Stanford, Independent on Sunday

'A huge book written with wit, compassion and a sharp critical eye. The writing is packed with daring imaginative leaps. Apart from Arditti's brilliant comic skills, there is a deep moral core to the book.' Financial Times

'The best thing of all about Easter is that it isn't just a book for Christians - or even just for believers. The beauty of such high-calibre social satire is that you begin to see how what applies to the Church can apply equally to other institutions where hearts, minds and cash are at stake. Arditti's combination of savage wit and magnanimous heart enables his message to melt in the mouth like a communion wafer – while delivering the kick of a Holy mule. It's rare for a book to stir both the soul and the mind at once, and to provoke peals of laughter as it does so. But miracles happen. Praise be.' The Good Book Guide

'Michael Arditti's brilliant novel. A latterday Passion story of great distinction.' Observer

'The author handles his material with considerable skill. Few other contemporary British writers of fiction are prepared to become immersed in metaphysical territory. Arditti's dialogue and imagery are memorable, and his eye for the quirks of Anglo-Catholicism recalls Barbara Pym at her best. His depiction of strong emotions - especially suffering - proceeds from deep feeling and is always honest.' Daily Telegraph

Price £: 
6.99
Paperback
Published: 
10 Mar 2008
ISBN: 
9781905147939
Available from:

Easter

The parish of St Mary-in-the-Vale. Hampstead is preparing for Easter. In his Palm Sunday sermon, the Vicar explains that Christ's crucifixion and redemption are taking place every day. He little suspects that, before the week is out, he and his entire congregation will be caught up in a latter-day Passion story which will tear apart their lives. Easter offers both a challenging portrait of the contemporary Church of England and a reworking of the central myth of Western culture. Its rich gallery of characters range from a Holocaust survivor and an African princess to AIDS patients and Queen Elizabeth II. Shocking events unfold against a backdrop of religious services. High Church ritual, evangelical revivalism and the ancestor-worship of the English gentry all come under scrutiny in a radical fusion of the sacred and profane.

'At a time when religion and religion-based hostilities are politically rife throughout the world, the novel of religion has an important place. Michael Arditti writes about Western Christianity, as it is manifest in the present Church of England, with pungency and satirical frankness. His style has Joycean echoes. Against a background of the conventional liturgies he places awful actualities in the lives of preachers and practitioners. Not explicitly, but in purpose and feeling, Easter is a novel on the New Testament theme of Christ's expulsion of the money-changers from the temple.' Muriel Spark

'It's a delight to find a modern novel that takes religion - and all the objections to it - seriously as a subject: the rockpool of a London parish teems with all kinds of curious life.' Philip Pullman, Sunday Times

'As in his excellent earlier novels, The Celibate and Pagan and her Parents, Michael Arditti is deliberately provocative: he reads at times like the unlikely love child of Derek Jarman and Barbara Pym, presenting a story of parish backbiting against a bleak backdrop of lust, corruption and disease. But this is a novel of such moral seriousness that, before long, one reaches for grander models. In the scale of its aspirations and the savagery of its satire, Easter reminds me of Charles Dickens. I think it is Arditti's masterpiece and one of the first important English novels of the century.' Damian Thompson, Literary Review

'Michael Arditti's new novel, with its three sections and cast of thousands mirroring the time-honoured triptych, delivers a technically impressive, emotionally moving and deeply disturbing chronicle of death and resurrection. A profoundly and passionately religious novel.' Peter Stanford, Independent on Sunday

'A huge book written with wit, compassion and a sharp critical eye. The writing is packed with daring imaginative leaps. Apart from Arditti's brilliant comic skills, there is a deep moral core to the book.' Financial Times

'The best thing of all about Easter is that it isn't just a book for Christians - or even just for believers. The beauty of such high-calibre social satire is that you begin to see how what applies to the Church can apply equally to other institutions where hearts, minds and cash are at stake. Arditti's combination of savage wit and magnanimous heart enables his message to melt in the mouth like a communion wafer - while delivering the kick of a Holy mule. It's rare for a book to stir both the soul and the mind at once, and to provoke peals of laughter as it does so. But miracles happen. Praise be.' The Good Book Guide

'Michael Arditti's brilliant novel. A latterday Passion story of great distinction.' Observer

'The author handles his material with considerable skill. Few other contemporary British writers of fiction are prepared to become immersed in metaphysical territory. Arditti's dialogue and imagery are memorable, and his eye for the quirks of Anglo-Catholicism recalls Barbara Pym at her best. His depiction of strong emotions - especially suffering - proceeds from deep feeling and is always honest.' Daily Telegraph

Price £: 
5.99
eBook
Published: 
01 Apr 2011
ISBN: 
9781908129338
Available from:

About the author

  • Michael Arditti

    Michael Arditti

    Michael Arditti is a novelist, short story writer and critic. His novels are The Celibate (1993), Pagan and her Parents  (Pagan’s Father in the USA) (1996), Easter (2000), Unity (2005), A Sea Change (2006), The Enemy of the Good (2009), Jubilate (2011) and The Breath of Night (2013). His short story collection, Good Clean Fun was published in 2004. He was awarded a Harold Hyam Wingate scholarship in 2000, a Royal Literary Fund fellowship in 2001, an Oppenheim-John Downes memorial award in 2003 and Arts Council awards in 2004 and 2007. He was the Leverhulme artist in residence at the Freud museum in 2008. His novels have been short- and long-listed for several literary awards and Easter won the inaugural Waterstone’s Mardi Gras award. In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary DLitt by the University of Chester. He is currently theatre critic of the Sunday Express.

    Titles by Michael Arditti

    Widows and Orphans by Michael Arditti Jacket