Jubilate: reviews

‘I was amazed at how emotional this book is….  The shrine, the landscape, the trinket shops, the vile hostels and the pilgrims themselves are all meticulously – and mercilessly – observed.  What makes the book so poignant, and so urgent, is that the ethics of choice, and how we care for one another, are made to matter, not just to the characters but also to the readers.’
Patricia Duncker, Literary Review

‘Re-evaluating notions of love, health, sacrifice and modern-day miracles.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll think.’
Easy Living

Jubilate demonstrates once again Arditti’s considerable strengths.  Set against the backdrop of the French shrine of Lourdes (it is hard to think of another novelist who might consider the place worthy of attention).  It is about an unexpected, unsought-after, almost fated love affair between Gillian, a dutiful Catholic wife approaching middle age, as she accompanies her brain-damaged husband, Richard on a pilgrimage, and Vincent, a lapsed Catholic documentary film-maker, whose avowed intent is to explode the myth that this is a place of miracle cures.  They are an unlikely couple, but Arditti’s tale of their falling in love is beautifully told….  Carries you through with humour, warmth and, above all, the urgency of a great romance.’
Peter Stanford, The Guardian

‘A company of characters as varied as Chaucer’s pilgrims.  It is heartbreaking, often funny, certainly unlike any other love story.’
Ruth Gorb, Camden New Journal

‘An exhilarating read, reminding us how much in real life we glean from shreds and patches as well as from moments of sudden revelation.   Arditti poses leading questions about God, religion and moral values.  At the same time, a wonderful humour sparkles from these pages like sunlight on water.’
James Roose-Evans, Ham & High

‘Arditti combines a moving story of love against the odds with a moral debate on the nature of faith.  Despite its serious theme Jubilate is a highly readable novel, full of humour and warmth, which enhances Arditti’s reputation as a novelist with the courage to tackle groundbreaking subjects.’
Clare Colvin, Sunday Express

‘Skippering love boats through religious waters is an Arditti speciality.  His moral clear-sightedness through such turbulence is a rare find.  With compassion as a compass, Arditti shows how two vulnerable people can help each other move on from difficult pasts….  As a writer, Arditti excels in exposing the frailty in us all.’
Laura Silverman, Daily Mail

‘A hint of Greene in the way faith provides both alibi and motive threads through an unlikely love story set against a recreation of a place that is half Disneyland and half genuinely mysterious.’
Charlotte Vowden, Daily Express

‘Arditti is a nimble, dry guide to the meandering streets and kitsch architectural delights of Lourdes and the extremes of emotions it elicits from its pilgrims.  In Jubilate, he has again convincingly, and imaginatively, interrogated faith, belief and the gritty struggle to live with grace.’
Tim Teeman, The Times

‘Arditti compresses a great deal of humour, argument, sympathy and insight into his five-day storyline, elegantly structuring his book so that the reader moves backwards and forwards in time, learning about the relationship from different angles and different perspectives.  Like all good novels, this one does not preach;  it shows, with perception and finesse, the crooked timber of human love and the hope and healing that (might) flow from it;  sadness and jubilation in equal measure.’                                                                                                                                                                                                   Charlie Hegarty, Catholic Herald

‘Few contemporary novelists are able to engage with both a secular and a religious view of the world in such a way as to feel the pull of both.  Michael Arditti is someone who does this, and the theme of his fine new novel is ideally suited to his gifts…. Another of Michael Arditti’s gifts is to combine high seriousness with laughter and occasional comic absurdity, and again he does this to great effect in Jubilate.’
Richard Harries, former Bishop of Oxford, Church Times

‘The relationship between Gillian and Vincent is the touchstone of the book.  Their courtship is set against the backdrop of the other pilgrims.  Arditti paints this in wonderfully.  He also manages to inject a large dose of humour…. The reader retains a quiet sense of celebration – indeed, jubilation – as people face the crosses they must bear with as much dignity as they can muster.’
Philip Womack, Daily Telegraph

Jubilate is a passionate, provocative account of an affair between the wife of a brain-damaged man and a documentary film-maker that challenges accepted notions of duty and sacrifice.’
Will Davis, Attitude

‘Michael Arditti has continually proved his versatility with settings as diverse as prisons, seminaries, film-sets and a refugee cruise ship.  The extent of his research is subtly evident in every sentence.  His humour ranges from deep-bellied out-loud fun to the kind of laughter one can’t help expelling at a funeral.  Closing this novel after reading the last page, one briefly believes in miracles, at least of the human redemptive kind.’
Rivka Isaacson, Independent on Sunday

‘Arditti is one of the few novelists to write about religion as if it mattered.   The consciences of the characters are as carefully described as their hormonal surges.  A sublime (literally) romance, beautifully told.’

Kate Saunders, Saga

‘Arditti does indeed take the reader on a very different kind of a literary journey, as enjoyable as it is unusual.  Jubilate is something to celebrate indeed.’
Amanda Hopkinson, Independent

‘A rich, stimulating and involving novel.  Arditti displays an admirable lightness of touch.’
Stephanie Cross, The Lady

‘Will faith survive? Will it find new believers?   Are miracles possible?  These are just some of the issues raised by Arditti.  A page-turner, Jubilate challenges concepts of disability and health, duty and sacrifice and the nature of miracles.’
Emmanuel Cooper, Tribune

‘It is a brave writer who starts a novel with an X-rated scene in Lourdes.  But Arditti has never lacked the courage of his convictions.  Jubilate is a typically intelligent piece, examining the moral implications of a love affair between an agnostic investigative journalist and a devout Catholic woman with a disabled husband.  Arditti addresses serious moral questions in a frank way.’
                                                                                                                                                      Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

‘A wonderful exploration of love, loss, faith and the many forms it can take… one of those beautifully written stories that takes you deep inside a character -it reminded me of The End of the Affair.
Nick Ahad, Yorkshire Post


Jubilate is a wily and accomplished novel that explores the contested ground between human and divine love.  Arditti expertly switches the narrative voice between Gillian and Vincent, shuffles the time lines backwards and forwards, and proffers and withholds just enough information to move the story along, while keeping the reader’s tongue wagging.  And it seems to me that Arditti, surely a regular visitor himself, really “gets” Lourdes, the tawdry excesses, the wise-cracking priests, the brink-of-chaos logistics, the last-shall-be-first fuzzy logic – human beings at their most strange and hopeful and wonderful.’
Brendan Walsh, The Tablet

Jubilate is as uplifting a novel as its names hints at.  Aside from the deeply complex love story and the religious overtones, there are some hilarious sections… Full of dark humour and deeply believable reactions in the strangest of situations, if anything, Jubilate reminds one of how the strength of the human spirit can sometimes win through.’     Shelley Marsden, Irish World