Absolution

Absolution

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
5
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Random House, Inc.
In this stunning literary debut, Patrick Flanery delivers a devastating and intimate portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, and the perils of taking sides when the sides are changing around you.

Told in shifting perspectives, Absolution is centred 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 small child present in her daughter's last days who has reappeared, posing as Clare's official biographer. Sam Leroux, a South African expatriate returning to Cape Town after many years in New York, gradually earns Clare's trust, his own ghosts emerging from the histories that he and Clare begin to unravel, leading them both along a path in search of reconciliation and forgiveness.

Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, c2012
ISBN: 9780307401274
Branch Call Number: FIC FLA
Characteristics: 389 p. :,22 cm.

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uncommonreader
Aug 03, 2014

A not entirely successful, but nonetheless interesting, novel set in post-apartheid South Africa. The story is told from shifting perspectives - the author, her biographer, the author's memoirs - and is about the search for truth and absolution for white liberals in the new South Africa. There are no black characters. It tells of an unequal, violent and paranoid society, without presenting any of the positive changes that have occurred in the last two decades. It also contains reflections on the impact of censorship on an author's writing. In the end, there is no real reconciliation for the characters nor resolution.

ChristchurchLib Jun 17, 2013

"Set in modern-day South Africa, this debut follows a series of interviews between acclaimed author Clare Walde and her biographer, Sam Leroux. Haunted by her sister's death and the disappearance of her daughter, Laura, during apartheid more than a decade previously, Clare is difficult to draw out. Sam himself - who, as a child, met Clare's daughter around the time his parents were killed in a bombing - is unable to remember all the details of his relationship with Laura. Their private reminiscences, in addition to their interviews and Clare's own project, a fictionalised memoir, alternate to create a strong sense of place and a complex reconstruction of their shared history that Kirkus Reviews likens to a 'haunting labyrinth of mirrors'." June 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=645214

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fjvalentin
Sep 06, 2012

An excellent book of lives intertwined during the difficult times of apartheid and post apartheid. It resonated with me, as I spent a short time in Capetown in 1998, shortly after the end of apartheid.

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okbookgirl
Jun 14, 2012

Excellent novel set in South Africa which shifts in time back and forth from the apartheid era to post-apartheid times. The narrator's perspective shifts frequently too - from an older woman Clare to the young man who is writing her biography, to Clare's daughter who has disappeared reputably because of her freedom fighting activities. Although I found these frequent shifts confusing at first, the story and writing grabbed me immediately. Great writing...I hope Mr. Flanery has another novel in the works.

JBJ2110 May 13, 2012

I loved this book. It is a first novel, and is set in South Africa, post Truth & Reconciliation. It is very reminiscent of "Atonement".

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