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A troubling Eden

Scandal engulfs a female rector when her chief bellringer is accused of child-molesting and paintings in the parish church are judged sacrilegious

27 May 2023

9:00 AM

27 May 2023

9:00 AM

The Choice Michael Arditti

Arcadia, pp.416, 18.99

Michael Arditti’s 13th novel The Choice is full of tough moral conundrums. The central dilemma facing Clarissa Phipps, the rector of St Peter’s Church in Tapley, Cheshire, is particularly knotty. Should she remove the church’s panels depicting a troublingly sensuous Eden, painted by the degenerate artist Seward Wemlock in the 1980s, or leave them to stand? Can, in short, an artist’s life ever be disassociated from their work?

This is a hot potato, one with which Arditti grapples using endless reserves of theological nuance.

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