four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
31-Nov-Dec-2007
user_rating: 
0

A-Forgive MeWhen 35-year-old journalist Nadine Morgan (named after South African novelist Nadine Gordimer) is attacked in Mexico City, she wakes up to find herself in the care of her father in Cape Cod. As she recuperates, she reads about a young, black South African woman ready to testify about the murder of a white man and apply for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Nadine flies to postapartheid Cape Town to find out more from the murdered man’s parents. As she delves into his diary, she recalls her own past—her years in Cape Town covering apartheid and her tragic love affair—and the difficult choices she made along the way.
Random House. 236 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0345494466

Charlotte Observer 4 of 5 Stars
"Amanda Eyre Ward writes novels that are intellectually, emotionally and morally satisfying. … The novel starts slowly, but ultimately readers will find this book compelling and deeply satisfying in a way that is uncommon in contemporary fiction." Pat MacEnulty

Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars
"Once you’re on the journey with haunted freelance journalist Nadine Morgan, you won’t want to get off the train until the final stop. … Ms. Ward also knows how to deliver a surprise; in one major subplot, she gently leads the reader toward what we believe is a foregone conclusion, only to have the road turn down a completely unexpected, and unexpectedly dark, side street." Joy Tipping

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Emotional distance and the price it extracts drive the thoughtful and compulsively readable Forgive Me. … The characters and situations are resonantly drawn, so much so that this is a novel that is over much too soon." Robin Vidimos

Providence Journal 3.5 of 5 Stars
"With staccato bursts of vivid writing and dialogue, Forgive Me has cinematic drama but sacrifices prettiness for grit. Throughout the novel, Ward offers the reader a glimpse into subjects both foreign and familiar and maintains interest to the end." Lisa Palmer

San Francisco Chronicle 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Ward connects her reader alternately to Cape Cod and Cape Town through cultural signifiers; Whale’s Tale beer brewed on Nantucket, a Patriots game on TV or the occasional word in Afrikaans. But she struggles to make the reader feel a real intimacy with these places." Michelle Quint

Critical Summary

In her first two novels, Sleep Toward Heaven and How to Be Lost, Amanda Eyre Ward asked questions about loss and forgiveness: Is salvation possible to achieve? What are the costs of achieving it? Does everyone deserve it? Forgive Me, as the title suggests, blatantly explores these questions and other big themes—from apartheid to race, globalization, and motherhood. Filled with plot twists, Ward intersperses Nadine’s story with the first-person journal entries of young boy in Nantucket. Her spare, compelling prose touched most critics deeply; as Nadine travels back to South Africa, her own questions also captivated them. In sum, Forgive Me is a page-turner with deep moral underpinnings.