Unholy row: The Choice, by Michael Arditti, reviewed

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. By juxtaposing Clarissa’s choice with others she has to make in her life (and the original choices made by Adam and Eve in eating the forbidden