The Book of Faith

  • Mordecai Richler meets Jane Austen in The Book of Faith.

    Faith, Rhoda, and Erica, affectionately known as the Three Graces, are members of a liberal Jewish congregation in contemporary Montreal. Rabbi Nate wants a grand new synagogue; Marty, the congregation’s treasurer, harbours a raunchy secret; and Melly is a hard-nosed Holocaust survivor with an agenda.

    Award-winning author Elaine Kalman Naves’s debut novel is a delicious send-up of synagogue politics. It is also a paean to friendship.

  • “It was a truism, practically a truth universally acknowledged, that no one knew as much about a person as their lawyer or their accountant. Maybe not even their shrink. But a shul president was also advantageously positioned to obtain some fine insights. Performing the mitzvah of visiting a shiva house, she might bear witness to the most astonishing family meltdowns. Reviewing a report from the membership chair, she had privileged dope on the deadbeats: the members—not necessarily of the ranks of the impoverished—who shamelessly drifted from year to year, mooching off the public weal, without paying their fees.”

  • What the critics have said

    "In The Book of Faith, Elaine Kalman Naves is as wise about 21st century synagogue intrigues and middle-age romances as Jane Austen was about early 19th century English drawing rooms. In fact, if Austen were around today—and Jewish, of course—I’m betting this is the kind of novel she’d be writing. Kalman Naves’s story of love and loss, female friendship and hard-earned resilience is fast-paced, heartfelt and sharply observant. The Book of Faith is a serious delight."

    - Joel Yanofsky
      author of Bad Animals and Mordecai & Me

    "The Book of Faith is an incisive, funny, and moving exploration of the lives of three women – one of them the eponymous Faith – over the course of a tumultuous year and a half of challenges both personal and public. Conveying the particulars of Jewish Montreal with an almost documentary realism, it will speak powerfully to anyone who has tried to integrate their own ethnic and religious heritage into contemporary society."

    - Susan Glickman
      author of The Tale-Teller and Safe as Houses

    "Jane Austen and Mordecai Richler are not names that suggest an immediate association. But they are the antecedents that the publisher of Elaine Kalman Naves's debut novel invokes to describe the story of three women--known as the Three Graces--who worship at the same Montreal synagogue. Naves, a former literary columnist for the Montreal Gazette, examines friendship among women in the context of faith and religious politics.The documentary-like dissection of contemporary women's lives recalls Austen; the scabrous humour and contemporary Montreal setting suggest Richler."

    – Quill & Quire, October 2015.

    Interview in Montreal Review of Books by Sarah Fletcher
    Read the article

    Interview in Montreal Gazette by Ian McGillis
    Read the full article and watch the interview

    "Novel of Jewish Montreal hits notes of humour and pathos"
    Read the full article
    Interview in Canadian Jewish News by Janice Arnold, Staff Reporter

    "Smart yet tender, funny yet deep, The Book of Faith, is a sly, witty send-up of squabble-filled synagogue politics ...".  Read the full article
    Review in The Lilith Blog by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Book of Faith

Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: Linda Leith Publishing
Date: 2015