Absolution, by Patrick Flanery
Set in present-day South Africa, this tense and unsettling novel opens with the first meeting of Sam, a young writer, and Clare, an acclaimed author whose biography Sam has been hired to write. Little by little, it becomes clear that Sam and Clare’s relationship is not as it first appeared; their connection can be revealed only by the biographer and his subject looking into the pasts they might prefer to leave alone. What follows is the story of people deeply wounded by the politics of the fractured country they live in. The story changes when viewed from each person’s perspective, so the notion of truth must be understood to be elusive. But the hope that truth can be found persists. In a land that has seen so much bloodshed and injustice, the journey into the past, anybody’s past, is likely to take some violent paths, through years of betrayal. Flanery offers unflinching social commentary throughout, alongside a compelling tale of love and loyalty.