Sunday, 6 May 2012

Book of the Week - Patrick Flanery, Absolution

Absolution is a first novel by Patrick Flanery which has attracted considerable notice and good reviews.  It was selected by Waterstones as one of their debut novels of the year and has also been longlisted for the Desmond Elliot prize.  Interestingly, Flannery is an American currently living in London, yet has set his novel in pre- and post-apartheid South Africa. He was born in California and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. After earning a BFA in Film from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts he worked for three years in the film industry before moving to the UK, where he completed a doctorate in Twentieth-Century English Literature at the University of Oxford.  Nonetheless, most reviewers think he has portrayed the setting of his novel convincingly and some have compared his portrayal favourably with those of Coetzee and Galgut.  Certainly an interesting prospect and now into several printings, so the first edition hardback from Atlantic is well worth picking up. 

 “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.”

No comments: