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Absolution

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Absolution Cover

ISBN13: 9781594488177
ISBN10: 1594488177
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A bold and exciting literary novel set in South Africa 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?

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. Its also a devastating, intimate, and stunningly woven story. Told in shifting perspectives, it centers on the mysterious character of Clare Wald, a controversial South African 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 daughters last days who has reappeared twenty years later as Clares official biographer, prompting an unraveling of history and a search for forgiveness. Part literary thriller, part meditation on the responsibility of the individual under totalitarianism, this is a masterpiece of rich, complicated characters and narration that captures the reader and does not let go.

 

Review:

"Flanery's intricate debut, full of shifting perspectives and temporal leaps, calls for disciplined sleuthing to fully realize its merits. Set mostly in a richly described postapartheid South Africa, the interconnected plot lines follow aging, contentious writer Clare Wald as she attempts to assemble the sordid details of her revolutionary daughter Laura's disappearance over two decades ago. She's also dealing with her own remorseless complicity in the assassination years ago of her sister and her sister's husband, a prominent figure in the National Party. Another plot finds Sam Leroux, a white South African whose parents died in a botched bombing and whose aunt was murdered in a robbery, returning to write Clare's biography, an act that slowly reveals complicated bonds between them. Yet many questions remain: what became of Laura? Was she involved in the death of Sam's parents? Who killed Sam's aunt, and was the death connected to a break-in witnessed by Clare? Which version of the truth, if any, is 'real'? Adeptly orchestrating multiple points of view, Flanery builds intrigue by allowing his characters' unreliable interpretations of history, but with mixed results. Early understanding of the novel's confusing form (chapters entitled 'Absolution' are from Clare's book, for one) would enable deeper, less frustrating reading. Still, this is a puzzle worth solving. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a “dazzling . . . thrilling . . . downright exhilarating” (The Washington Post) page-turner set in the American heartland.

In Patrick Flanerys tensely brilliant second novel, the layered and tumultuous past of one plot of former farmland comes to haunt its new owners in breathtaking yet deeply meaningful ways.

When Julia and Nathaniel arrive in a luxury suburb of neo-Victorian homes on the edge of a sprawling midwestern city, they have no inkling of its history. For the East Coast couple and their young son, Copley, it is a fresh start, promising a bucolic American future. They buy up the signature home of the development in a foreclosure sale and move in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel—as it did in the developments architect. As the remaining trees on the land bear witness, reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and then vanish, as Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

Synopsis:

From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a literary page-turner set in the American heartland.

Poplar Farm has been in Louises family for generations, inherited by her sharecropping forbearer from a white landowner after a lynching. Now the farm has been carved up, the trees torn down—a mini-massacre replicating the history of many farms before it, and the destruction of lives and societies taking place all across America.

Architect of this destruction is Paul Krovik, a property developer soon driven insane by the failure of his ambition. Left behind is a half-finished “luxury suburb” of neo-Victorian homes on the outskirts of a sprawling midwestern city. To Paul it is a collapsed dream, but to Julia and Nathaniel, arriving from their small Boston apartment, it is a new start, promising a bucolic future. With their son, Copley, they buy Pauls signature home in a foreclosure sale and move in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel. The remaining trees bear witness, Louise lives on in her beleaguered farmhouse, and as reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and then vanish, Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

About the Author

Patrick Flanery was born in California, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

5039614112, April 27, 2012 (view all comments by 5039614112)
If the madness, observed from afar, of South Africa has intrigued you - especially the years of apartheid and reconciliation - Absolution is a must read. The story is told in two voices, Sam - the son of white parents who violently oppose apartheid and Clare - whose daughter, Clare believes, also became a white violent reactionary against apartheid. Underlying Clare's voice is the tone of the confessional, a white female author - Clare believes herself complicit in several deaths. Sam, the orphaned son, is writing a biography of Clare. They share a past but take a long time to acknowledge it. Sharing more than that would impact the reading.

We all, probably, in some way - seek absolution - a freeing from guilt AND, most importantly, a release from consequences. Absolution is a dead on honest look at an atrocious period of white rule in South Africa, the whites who railed against apartheid and the concept that eventually everyone involved in that kind of government and racial inequality will at some point, if not seek, hope beyond hope for absolution.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594488177
Author:
Flanery, Patrick
Publisher:
Riverhead Trade
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130402
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Cultural Heritage
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Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Military

Absolution Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594488177 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Flanery's intricate debut, full of shifting perspectives and temporal leaps, calls for disciplined sleuthing to fully realize its merits. Set mostly in a richly described postapartheid South Africa, the interconnected plot lines follow aging, contentious writer Clare Wald as she attempts to assemble the sordid details of her revolutionary daughter Laura's disappearance over two decades ago. She's also dealing with her own remorseless complicity in the assassination years ago of her sister and her sister's husband, a prominent figure in the National Party. Another plot finds Sam Leroux, a white South African whose parents died in a botched bombing and whose aunt was murdered in a robbery, returning to write Clare's biography, an act that slowly reveals complicated bonds between them. Yet many questions remain: what became of Laura? Was she involved in the death of Sam's parents? Who killed Sam's aunt, and was the death connected to a break-in witnessed by Clare? Which version of the truth, if any, is 'real'? Adeptly orchestrating multiple points of view, Flanery builds intrigue by allowing his characters' unreliable interpretations of history, but with mixed results. Early understanding of the novel's confusing form (chapters entitled 'Absolution' are from Clare's book, for one) would enable deeper, less frustrating reading. Still, this is a puzzle worth solving. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,

From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a “dazzling . . . thrilling . . . downright exhilarating” (The Washington Post) page-turner set in the American heartland.

In Patrick Flanerys tensely brilliant second novel, the layered and tumultuous past of one plot of former farmland comes to haunt its new owners in breathtaking yet deeply meaningful ways.

When Julia and Nathaniel arrive in a luxury suburb of neo-Victorian homes on the edge of a sprawling midwestern city, they have no inkling of its history. For the East Coast couple and their young son, Copley, it is a fresh start, promising a bucolic American future. They buy up the signature home of the development in a foreclosure sale and move in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel—as it did in the developments architect. As the remaining trees on the land bear witness, reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and then vanish, as Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

"Synopsis" by ,
From the critically acclaimed author of Absolution, a literary page-turner set in the American heartland.

Poplar Farm has been in Louises family for generations, inherited by her sharecropping forbearer from a white landowner after a lynching. Now the farm has been carved up, the trees torn down—a mini-massacre replicating the history of many farms before it, and the destruction of lives and societies taking place all across America.

Architect of this destruction is Paul Krovik, a property developer soon driven insane by the failure of his ambition. Left behind is a half-finished “luxury suburb” of neo-Victorian homes on the outskirts of a sprawling midwestern city. To Paul it is a collapsed dream, but to Julia and Nathaniel, arriving from their small Boston apartment, it is a new start, promising a bucolic future. With their son, Copley, they buy Pauls signature home in a foreclosure sale and move in to their brave new world. Yet violence lies just beneath the surface of this land, and simmers deep within Nathaniel. The remaining trees bear witness, Louise lives on in her beleaguered farmhouse, and as reality shifts, and the edges of what is right and wrong blur and then vanish, Copley becomes convinced that someone is living in the house with them.

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