Jewish novelist AM Homes remains in the running for the annual Women's Prize for Fiction following the shortlist announcement this morning.
The author is shortlisted for the £30,000 prize – formerly the Orange Prize – for her novel May We Be Forgiven, of which JC critic Madeleine Kingsley wrote: "I would not lose a word of her whip-sharp wit or unerring dialogue".
Although five Jewish writers, including Francesca Segal for her north west London-set tale The Innocents, were longlisted for the award, only Ms Homes made the cut.
The American writer, who has seven fiction novels to her name, was adopted by a Jewish family
May We Be Forgiven tells the story of two brothers who loathe each other, one an academic and the other a pompous television executive. Unusually for her work, the main character – Harry – Jewish and deals at times with questions of religion.
The author has compared it to the film A serious Man, made by the Coen Brothers, which was in part inspired by the biblical story of Job.
In an interview about the book, she revealed that she has been considering "the notion of faith or the belief or need for some kind of spiritual or communal life" for several years. "In this book, there is a Jewish theme that I hadn't ever risked exploring before. In some ways I was afraid to do it because I thought this will be my Jewish book and people will be upset by that. But the secret, or the truth, is that I'm incredibly happy about it."