For every half-dozen romcoms, or chicklits or crime novels, I try to read a decent book which is literary or worthy or just plain brilliant. The Enemy of the Good is all of these as well as being thought-provoking and mind-blowing all at the same time.
Michael Arditti is a well known author on religious topics, but this a step further into spirituality and the great themes of life and death. At first I had to struggle, then my mind was stretched and challenged, then I couldn’t put it down and finally I felt as if I had come home to a place where I belonged and where I could relax and know that God loves us all, quirks and all.
The story is told through the eyes of four of the main characters, though not in any annoying leaps back and forward of timing, that leave the reader confused. The narrative is taken forward by each character in turn, allowing for a deeper insight to that particular person and their relation to ongoing events as well as the other people.
We are introduced to a family where the older parents are a retired bishop, who has lost his faith, his wife who is an infamous anthropologist and their children, a religious artist who happens to be gay, his sister who explores the closed world of Chassidic Jews. As if that is not enough of a mix, we look at terminal illness, HIV and above all the conflict between liberalism and fundamentalism in religion.
I don’t want to give away much more of the plot, but as you can see there is plenty of scope for action. If you’ve read it, do let me know what you think. If you get the chance and are ready for a challenge, do have a go. I give it a 9.5 out of 10.0.