Page-Turners You'll Tear Through

Warning, Judges: These new books will keep you up all night to finish. 
Absolution

Absolution

400 pages; Riverhead
Get your head in the game for this thick, complex tale that flits between times and perspectives. Newly returned to South Africa, Sam Leroux has taken a job writing the biography of one Clare Wald, a famous author, who is not at all enthused about the project. A few nights after their meeting, her house is invaded by masked men. Her domestic (to borrow a term from the culture) drives off the attackers with a shotgun, but from that point forward, Clare begins to honestly reflect on her past. What results are four alternating narratives: Sam in present-day Capetown, bewildered by the violence and poverty; Clare in the present day, having moved to a home in a gated community to protect herself; Clare's memories of the last days prior her daughter Laura's disappearance; and a straight account of what actually happened to Laura. The shifting narratives mean the book gets off to slow start, but the second Laura leaps into the action—hitch-hiking on a road in the dark, jumping into a truck with a brutal driver and a mysterious young boy, the whole game changes. Questions like "Who killed whom?" and "Can the boy be saved?" and "Why can't Laura just go home?" wreak havoc on any inner calm you possess. What Clare thinks happened did not happen, and as you follow the twists and turns of politics and family strife and unanticipated connections between characters, what results is a riveting portrait of a country, a culture and two individuals (we're not telling which) who've waited a lifetime to confront each other—and to confront themselves.
— Leigh Newman

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