The Book of Faith

Elaine Kalman Naves

September 2015

Mordecai Richler meets Jane Austen In The Book of Faith. Faith, Rhoda, and Erica, affectionately known 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.

SHORTLISTED for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Award for Humour

Elaine Kalman Naves was born in Hungary and grew up in Budapest, London, and Montreal. She was for many years literary columnist for The Gazette in Montreal, and is the author of seven previous books, among them the award-winning memoirs Journey to Vaja (McGill-Queens) and Shoshanna’s Story (McClelland & Stewart).

Elaine's honours include a Canadian Literary Award for Personal Essay, two Quebec Writers' Federation prizes for non-fiction, and two Canadian Jewish Book Awards for Holocaust Literature. Elaine has been a frequent contributor to Ideas on CBC Radio and lectures widely at colleges, universities, and book clubs. She lives in Montreal. The Book of Faith, her first novel, was longlisted for teh 2016 Stephen Leacock Award for Humour.

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What they say

"In The Book of Faith, Elaine Kalman Naves is as wise about twenty-first century synagogue intrigues and middle-age romances as Jane Austen was about early eighteenth 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.

"The Book of Faith by @ElaineKalman is a totally engrossing novel."
Richard King, CBC Radio--Home Run, September 30, 2015.

"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 invoke 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

“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.”



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