Title: Absolution
Authors: Flanery, Patrick
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 385
Year: 2012
Publisher: Atlantic Press
Language: English
Description: When Sam Leroux is commissioned to write Clare Wald's biography, Clare is placing not only her life under the microscope but that of the apartheid era in South Africa. But there is a price to be paid for confronting one's past: revealing truths. When no-one (including Sam) is who they seem, truth is an elusive prospect.

Beautifully crafted, this is an intriguing and unsettling story examining the personal and societal concepts of guilt, truth and reconciliation.

Comments from Groups:

A disturbing, thought provoking but also compelling read. Required concentration because it jumped about and you could not be sure of the the veracity of the narrator. We agreed it was an important book for its insight into the multi layered reality of apartheid and post apartheid South Africa. Christchurch 001

It is a demanding book in its structure and it presents a very interesting view into the troubled and interesting society of South Africa. We all got a lot out of reading this novel even if it is hard to get into at first. As it develops, most found it quite compelling. Not for those who want an easy and comfortable read. Hamilton 029

Lively discussion with mixed views though most of us thought it was a really great book. Very good development of characters. Great descriptions of South Africa from several points of views. Auckland 039

Provoked a lot of discussion and speculation. We enjoyed the fact that all was not what it seemed at first, also that all the i's were not dotted nor t's crossed. Very clever. Tauranga 010

Categories: Fiction, Contemporary, Culture/Ethnic/Racial, Morals/Ethics, Political, Relationships, South Africa


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By: AUCK 335 2020-04-01 10:47:57
All agreed that this was a challenging read which really required a second reading to sort out the intricacies of the narrative, and to pick up 'clues'. Some found the ambiguity of Laura's role difficult and wanted a more resolved ending with all questions answered, others liked it the way it is. All agreed that the South African context was portrayed very vividly and according to one member who spent time there last year, very realistically.

By: WELL 047 2020-04-01 10:40:15
Some members did not finish it, but those who did were impressed with the intertwined threads. "Compelling" was a word used more than once.

By: DUNED 006 2020-04-01 10:38:13
Enjoyed by some - others didn't like the repeated violence.

By: RANGI 005 2020-04-01 10:36:07
Several members really enjoyed the book from the outset but most had to persevere for the first 100 pages. Once into the book, everyone agreed it was a rewarding read.

By: AUCK 155 2020-04-01 10:34:48
This book was a highlight for us - we were all enthralled by the story and characters. The descriptive language is amazing. We especially enjoyed the 'unpeeling' of events, and the way they were told from different people's point of view. Would like to read more by Patrick Flannery.

By: CHCH 239 2020-04-01 10:30:34
Best book this year! New author and one to watch for in the future. An intriguing book, multi layered and well-written - it engendered a long and lively discussion. Recommended.

By: AUCK 293 2020-04-01 10:27:30
This book really kept the reader guessing about what was happening for the first 150 pages. It wasn't an easy read, but worth persevering along the way. South Africa sounds like a very difficult, dangerous place to live, but we think it does us all good to read about life outside little safe N.Z. A very clever story.

By: HOKIAN 001 2020-04-01 10:24:17
A very complex book with its multiple voices. The truth slips and slides, and changes with time and place. We would all love to read it again!!

By: WELL 150 2020-04-01 10:21:30
We thought it was dark but thought provoking. Most of us read it. We wondered if that level of fear and violence could really be true - especially the torture, involving cages in the sea. None of us had heard of this before. It is always a challenge when none of the characters are likeable; and the recurring lack of trust between characters was really sad. We wondered how long a person had to be in a country for it to be "their country".

By: PAPA 001 2020-04-01 10:15:47
This book generated a lot of discussion and although not highly recommended, it is a good book club read. It was an enthralling love story, but we felt she introduced too many side storylines that detracted from the main storyline.

By: TIMAR 013 2020-03-11 12:33:38
One of our best books. Well-written and interesting subject on apartheid in South Africa, as well as absorbing.

By: LOWER 006 2019-06-28 10:42:10
Everyone in the group found it hard work to read, however we persevered and were pleased we managed to finish it. In the discussion there was virtually no dissent, we all thought that the author presented a depressing and discouraging view of South Africa both in the past and present. It was frustrating - what is truth? which version to believe? So many truths from each person's perspective. And the way the author jumped not only between the characters but also between far past, near past and present was confusing. We also thought the writing was in places didactic.

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