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The first published novel by the award-winning, bestselling and acclaimed Michael Arditti

‘It is unusual to find an English first novel of such unflinching moral seriousness … a varied and involving read’ Gregory Woods, Times Literary Supplement

‘An exceptional book – at its core it combines the sexual with the spiritual’ Sunday Times

‘An ambitious first novel, which traces the liberation of a human soul through a gradual revelation of the meaning of passion and the Passion’ Candia McWilliam, Independent on Sunday

The Celibate is the story of a young man with a mind full of God, but a heart closed to love. While studying at the theological college, he is confused by his feelings for a fellow ordinand and suffers a nervous collapse at the altar. His college principal sends him on a placement to London, where he enters an unfamiliar world of outcasts, down-and-outs, rent boys and religious fundamentalists.

In increasing despair, he embarks on a journey through the world of Jack the Ripper, the devastation of the Great Plague and the mysteries of his own family. As the past and present come full circle, he finally understands the true meaning of Passion.

This is an intelligent and emotive novel, potent with atmosphere and rich in ideas and insights. It employs a unique fictional structure which integrates the contemporary and the historical, the personal and the theological, the comic and the polemic in a revelatory way. On its initial publication, it was hailed as the debut of a major literary talent.

Reviews

It takes courage to write about faith in this faithless world, particularly from a homosexual viewpoint. But in The Celibate, Michael Arditti's first novel, the author's anger, conviction and sharp observation hold the reader's attention throughout
Alistair Bruton, The Times
An ambitious first novel, which traces the liberation of a human soul through a gradual revelation of the meaning of passion and the Passion
Candia McWilliam, Independent on Sunday
This deeply spiritual novel ... a carefully crafted, intensely analytical and deeply honest theological quest where the storyline becomes consumed in a broader faith journey
Peter Stanford, Catholic Herald
A bold and multi-layered first novel and one which negotiates a remarkably taut high-wire between frailty and ardour
Graham Anderson, City Limits
A fine political novel. Michael Arditti's eloquently beautiful style burns with passion and commitment. My mind and emotions were engaged for all of its 341 pages. A brave, unique book, this deserves the widest possible readership
John Roman Baker, Rouge
It is unusual to find an English first novel of such unflinching moral seriousness ... a varied and involving read
Gregory Woods, Times Literary Supplement
I found Arditti's heartfelt, even desperate, plea for tolerance and acceptance moving and honourable, not to mention timely
Karen Lewis, Literary Review
An exceptional book - at its core it combines the sexual with the spiritual
Sunday Times