The book it suggested for me was 'Easter' by Michael Arditti. The fact that I have finished it so quickly is a sign of how much I enjoyed it. 'Easter' is not an easy read, some of the passages would make many people (including myself) uncomfortable, but it is a compelling one.
The parish of St Mary-in-the-Vale 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.
This is not a 'christian fiction' book - most christian bookstores would refuse to stock it because of its rather graphic homosexual scenes. The clash of Evangelicals, Anglo-Catholics and Liberals is played out against a backdrop of contemporary Parish Life that may seem unrealistic to anyone who has not witnessed the incredible variety that is London culture.
The book presents the challenge of living a Contemporary Faith. The hymnal may have us sing of the 'Faith of our Fathers', but faith itself needs to be crucified and reborn for every generation. We do not live in the world of 'our fathers' and the manifestations of their faith leaves us ill equipped to deal with today. It is devastating to watch the faith of central characters get torn apart and killed, leaving you to wonder who will come forth from the grave.
It's not an easy read, not just because of the content.
The book has many characters, and I found myself referring to the list of them frequently. The book is written in triptych form. The first third presents the calendar of events during Holy week. It then switches to follow just one character in the drama. The final third of the book rewinds to Palm Sunday and replays the events from a different angle and fills in other details that the first section only hints at.
Moving. Thought Provoking. Engaging. Shocking.
Thank you whichbook!!!