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.