The Forgiven Hardcover – 25 Sep 2012
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"Compelling…Engrossing…Gripping" (Sunday Times)
"Surprising and dark and excellent" (New York Times)
"A sinister story about guilt, atonement and restitution, fashioned from lean, prowling prose" (Herald)
"More than a stylish thriller… The central plot has parallels with The Bonfire of the Vanities, while the socialites could be straight out of The Great Gatsby" (Stylist)
"A gripping read" (Kirkus)
"A superbly compelling novel... As menacing and engrossing as the best McEwan" (Robert Collins Sunday Times)
"Osborne brings together all his authorial talents in this gripping and sophisticated thriller" (Emma Hagestadt Independent)
"Stylish, somehow both lavish and muscular at the same time" (David Evans Independent on Sunday)
"Utterly compelling; at the risk of trotting out a cliché, I couldn't put the book down" (Justin Cartwright Observer)
"No mere imitation but a contribution to the shelf on which The Sheltering Sky and The Bonfire of the Vanities also sit, The Forgiven explores the clash of two cultures, each of which feels superior to the other. Osborne's writing is uncomfortably well observed; his story is sickeningly, addictively headlong." (Lionel Shriver)
"A sinister and streamlined entertainment in the tradition of Paul Bowles, Evelyn Waugh and the early Ian McEwan… This is a lean book that moves like a panther. Osborne has a keen and sometimes cruel eye for humans and their manners and morals, and for the natural world. Surprising and dark and excellent." (New York Times)
"Brooding, compelling... an engrossing and elegantly handled drama. One of the most appealing aspects of Osborne’s novel is the way in which, from this gripping starting point, he begins to wrongfoot the reader." (Robert Collins Sunday Times)
"Alarming and liberating in equal measure. Here is a tale as hot, claustrophobic and gritty as being rolled in the sand after a sweat bath. But it's also a novel with a vast moral horizon, which recedes and advances disorientatingly, leaving the reader with a thrilling sense of vertigo. Written with an untimely elegance more 1930s than 2010s, the book proceeds at thriller pace or, at least, it would if almost every page didn't cause you to fixate on a clinical insight into human nature or a snatch of dream-like description." (Adrian Turpin Literary Review)
Osborne writes mercilessly, savagely well. He excavates his characters, and the centuries-long cultural rift between the desert people and the Western infidels with a pathologist’s precision, wrapping fear, boredom, forgiveness, judgment, honour and sexual attraction into a novel that plunges with sinister pace towards its denouement.
" (Victoria Moore Daily Mail)
"The Forgiven shines darkly with a rich and mordant fatalism. Obsorne's characters emerge like people in a dream -- diamond-sharp but fascinatingly askew. His prose is gorgeous and precise; the story slices keenly through the exotic haze of its setting… an absolutely brilliant novel." (Kate Christensen, author of The Epicure's Lament and The Astral)
"With nods to Paul Bowles and Evelyn Waugh, Osborne portrays the vacuity of high society as gorgeously and incisively as he does the unease of cultures thrust together in the unforgiving desert" (US Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"A gripping read" (Kirkus, starred review)
"The prose has a very particular, knowing luminosity, much like the tarnished world it describes. A beautiful, compelling book to savour line by line" (Nikita Lalwani, author of Gifted)
"A genuinely exciting thriller that maintains its hold until the final horrifying twist" (Reader's Digest)
"More than a stylish thriller… The central plot has parallels with The Bonfire of the Vanities, while the socialites could be straight out of The Great Gatsby" (Mollie McGuigan Stylist)
"A sinister story about guilt, atonement and restitution, fashioned from lean, prowling prose" (Siobhan Murphy Herald)
"Both thought provoking and thoroughly absorbing" (Susan Osborne Nudge) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
East meets West with shattering conclusions in this stylish, taut and brilliant piece of cinematic storytelling from Lawrence Osborne --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Two guests to the annual Bacchanal are a British doctor, a deeply establishment figure with the expected prejudices of his age and class and his children’s author wife. The doctor, as usual, drinks too much, too quickly en route to the desert paradise and, on the way, kills a young man who steps in front of his car. Perhaps attempting to sell fossils. The couple bundle the dead man onto the back seat of their car and continue on to the festivities.
This is the extraordinary situation that sets up a dramatic narrative in Paul Bowles territory. The international hedonism is entirely convincing as is the contrast between the westerners world of drugs and champagne and the grief of the dead boy’s father arriving at the gates of the compound and falling to his knees in front of the security gates demanding the corpse of his son.
But the descriptions are a little repetitive. I think the other problem with the book is the nature of the central characters. The fact that people have money, drink, take drugs and have sex does not of itself make them interesting. He does have some insightful things to say and says them very well. And it is certainly refreshing to read a novel by a Brit not set in London or the Home Counties or on a university campus. But overall, despite the things to enjoy in it, the plot is not really credible and the ending rather similar to many others, in which justice and vengence seemingly evaded turn, at the last minute, into vengence done. You do want to get to the end of it, but I found myself skipping pages of description to simply get on with the plot.
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