By Patrick Flanery
(Atlantic, Hardcover, 9780857892003)
Publication Date: March 2012
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A bold and exciting literary novel that contemplates the elusive line between truth and self-perception. Ambitious and assured, "Absolution "propels the reader to the final page in a drive to discover the secrets and truths at its core. How or why did a young antiapartheid activist disappear twenty years earlier? How does that event link the present-day characters? And how does it explain the choices they have made or the lies they may tell themselves? Set in contemporary South Africa, "Absolution "is a big-idea novel about the pitfalls of memory, the ramifications of censorship, and the ways we are silently complicit in the problems around us. It's also a devastating, intimate, and stunningly woven story. Told in shifting perspectives, it centers on the mysterious character of Clare Wald, a controversial writer of great fame, haunted by the memories of a sister she fears she betrayed to her death and a daughter she fears she abandoned. Clare comes to learn that in this conflict the dead do not stay buried, and the missing return in other forms--such as the child witness of her daughter's last days who has reappeared twenty years later as Clare's official biographer, prompting an unraveling of history and a search for forgiveness. Patrick Flanery is an exhilarating new writer, and this is a masterpiece of rich, complicated characters and narration that captures the reader and does not let go.