The Forgiven: A Novel
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In this haunting novel, journalist and novelist Lawrence Osborne explores the reverberations of a random accident on the lives of Moroccan Muslims and Western visitors who converge on a luxurious desert villa for a decadent weekend-long party.
David and Jo Henniger, a doctor and a children's book author, in search of an escape from their less than happy lives in London, accept an invitation to attend a bacchanal at their old friends' home, deep in the Moroccan desert. But as a groggy David navigates the dark desert roads, two young men spring from the roadside, the car swerves...and one boy is left dead.
When David and Jo arrive at the party, the Moroccan staff, already disgusted by the rich, hedonistic foreigners in their midst, soon learn of David's unforgiveable act. Then the boy's irate Berber father appears, and events begin to spin beyond anyone's control.
With spare, evocative prose, searing eroticism, and a gift for the unexpected, Osborne memorably portrays the privileged guests wrestling with their secrets amid the remoteness and beauty of the desert landscape. He gradually reveals the jolting backstory of the young man who was killed and leaves David’s fate in the balance as the novel builds to a shattering conclusion.
Now with Extra Libris material, including a Q&A and bonus content
loosening up finally.” “The sun’ll be up in two hours, won’t it? I want to sleep it off. I want to wake up again.” He looked for the moon and didn’t find it. “You know, they won’t come back, the police. It’s over.” There was something unintentionally nasty in the way he said it, something hasty and unseemly. “I can’t see how Richard did it,” she muttered. “Did he bribe them? What the fuck did he do?” “It wasn’t that. Honestly, I think it’s not for us to know. I think it’s just a huge
seemed dismayed when he announced to them this scatterbrained plan, and they tried to talk him out of it. It was curious, he thought, how bored and lonely they seemed when the summer had passed, as if they dreaded the winter alone with each other in their chilly house on top of the hill. They wanted him to stay, and not because they needed help in the gardens, not because they couldn’t clean the swimming pool by themselves. One night he heard them arguing in the main house, the man shrieking like
far out of sight below the horizon. Anouar helped David out of the car and they soaked up the sun for a few minutes while two of the party ran off to peer inside the fossil trenches. The shepherd threw them a few friendly words. “They have a completely different idea of space,” David thought mutely as he watched the kid walk off with his stick. On the far western horizon, nothing could be seen but shimmering thorn trees. “They’re not even on the same planet.” Their planet bore only an
takes a few months for the money to arrive.” “I see.” Driss nodded. Then it is now, he thought, or never. And it cannot be never. He said to Angela, “I have been wondering about that safe and how you open it. It seems like a very clever thing.” “The safe?” “Yes, I have been watching Roger do it and I cannot figure it out.” “Why do you need to figure it out?” She stood up and he suddenly noticed that hours had gone by somehow and that it was already the end of the afternoon and the olive
European sounds marking the hours. The bottles emptied. Soon it was one o’clock. The tagines were served, then the pastries. Day talked to a secretive Dutch woman seated to his right, an archaeologist. She had been invited for her expertise and nothing else, and knew no one. Under her breath, she opined that the renovation of the ksour was “a farce.” “They are typical infidels,” she said seriously. “They have no taste.” He wanted to get to bed. Was no one else tired from the day’s travels? The