Absolution_book cover
2014 Shortlist

Absolution

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ABOUT
THE BOOK

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 crimes lurking in South Africa’s past; 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.

Shines light on contemporary South Africa and the long dark shadow of Apartheid, the elusive nature of truth and self-perception and the mysterious alchemy of the creative process. It is a debut of extraordinary strength and power.

Judges’ Comments

Patrick Flanery’s Absolution is one of those rare books which manages both to be a thriller and a razor-sharp analysis of the complexities of morality and history, as articulated in a narrative that swings between eighties apartheid South Africa and South Africa today. The novel is structured around a series of encounters between a famous white South African novelist, Clare Wald, and her official biographer, Sam Leroux. Both have secrets that Flanery’s gifted, gripping prose will draw out. This is an important novel for South Africa, all the more remarkable for having been written by an American. It is, moreover, this writer’s debut novel.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Patrick
Flanery

Patrick Flanery was born in California in 1975 and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He studied Film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and earned a PhD in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Oxford. He contributes articles to a number of academic journals and he has written for Slightly Foxed, the Daily Telegraph and The Times Literary Supplement. His first novel, Absolution, was published to critical acclaim in 2012. He lives in London.

Patrick Flanery was born in California in 1975 and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He studied Film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and earned a PhD in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Oxford. He contributes articles to a number of academic journals and he has written for Slightly Foxed, the Daily Telegraph and The Times Literary Supplement. His first novel, Absolution, was published to critical acclaim in 2012. He lives in London.

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NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

An eloquently written book, enriched by many points of view, from the apartheid era, and later South Africa. Raises many questions and has no solutions. Much to ponder in this rich book.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/03/2013
Country
United States
Original Language
English
Publisher
Atlantic Books

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