Mr. Ives' Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos

Mr. Ives' Christmas
248 pages; Harper Perennial
This book is easily the simplest and cleanest meditation on the act of forgiveness I can imagine. It's about a horrific event—the murder of Mr. Ives's son—and how a father's heart is shattered. It's like a Greek tragedy in the way it's constructed: There's a protagonist, his suffering and, finally, the benediction. I was so moved by Hijuelos' writing—how his Mr. Ives is almost taken down by the loss and how, decades later, he's brought back to life through his forgiveness of the killer.
— Mary-Louise Parker