$30.00 – Paperback / Atlantic Books / United Kingdom
In her garden, ensconced in the lush vegetation of the Western Cape, Clare Wald, world-renowned author, mother, critic, takes up her pen and confronts her life. Sam Leroux has returned to South Africa to embark upon a project that will establish his reputation – he is to write Clare’s biography. But how honest is she prepared to be? Was she complicit in past crimes; is she an accomplice or a victim? Are her crimes against her family real or imagined? As Sam and Clare turn over the events of her life, she begins to seek reconciliation, absolution. But in the stories she weaves and the truth just below the surface of her shimmering prose, lie Sam’s own ghosts.
Absolution shines light on contemporary South Africa and the long dark shadow of the recent past, the elusive nature of truth and self-perception and the mysterious alchemy of the creative process.
“Patrick Flanery is an extraordinary new writer. Absolution is smart, moving and provocative, a rare combination of page-turner and literary triumph. More than a book about South Africa, this is a book about the hunt for the truth, a hunt that is as universal as it is essential. Utterly captivating, this is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in a long while.” - Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo
“One rarely encounters such a confident first novel as Absolution. Patrick Flanery arrives on the scene wholly formed: a writer of superb self-confidence, depth of insight, and resolute clarity. Clare Wald, who occupies the white-hot center of this story, will stay with me. Flanery has a great deal to say about the art of biography, about narrative and its discontents, about the ways a blighted history infiltrates, infects, and transmogrifies the present. As the title suggests, the search for absolution is a human project of vast dimensions, never quite finished. This is a beautifully written piece of fiction, a major accomplishment.” - Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and The Passages of Herman Melville
A “compelling debut”; “A literary thriller whose writing is consistently first class”. - Adam O’Riordan, The Observer.
“The wonder of this outstanding first novel is that Flanery weaves the stories together with assurance and craftsmanship, digging underneath many received ideas about the old and new South Africa”. - Kate Saunders, The Times.
“a taut literary thriller”; “A very clever, beautifully written book”. - John Harding, The Daily Mail.
“a gripping debut novel which examines the slipperiness of truth”. - Lucy Beresford, The Sunday Telegraph.
“attempts to untangle the past and sort through the blurring of memory are masterfully handled by Flanery, who writes with a confidence and erudition that belie his young age”. - Elena Seymenliyska, on “highlights from a strong season for first novels”, Daily Telegraph
“an exceptionally intelligent, multi-layered novel encompassing politics, history, a gripping storyline and complex characters. It has absorbing depictions of grief, guilt, parenthood and sibling rivalry, and is beautifully written. The prose is lucid and strong, scenes of crime are full of suspense, and time and again phrases haunt with their imagery. [....] Absolution is an exceptional book.” – Leyla Sanai, The Independent
“Flanery’s writing is elegant and eloquent [...]. [H]e is an author to watch.” - Julie Trevelyan, Booklist
“Flanery has constructed a haunting labyrinth of mirrors, fact reflecting remembrance, lie reflecting evasion. Complex in theme, complex in narrative, this is a masterful literary exploration of the specter of conscience and the formidable cost of reconciliation.” - Kirkus starred review
“Absolution is a book of questions about what is right and who is pure. [....] One of the constant strengths of this novel is the way it faces the violence of everyday life [....]. With censorship now likely to make a comeback under the current government, what writers do becomes increasingly important. And a novel like Absolution is timely.” - Christopher Hope, The Guardian
“Patrick Flanery is an extraordinary new writer”. - GQ
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