Your audiobook is waiting…

The Forgiven

A Novel
Narrated by: Ralph Lister
Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Regular price: $28.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

In this stylish, 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 children's book author, in search of an escape from their less-than-happy lives in London, accept the invitation of their old friends Richard and Dally to attend their annual bacchanal at their home deep in the Moroccan desert - a ksar they have acquired and renovated into a luxurious retreat.  

On the way, the Hennigers stop for lunch, and the bad-tempered David can't resist consuming most of a bottle of wine. Back on the road, darkness has descended, David is groggy, and the directions to the ksar are vague. Suddenly, two young men spring from the roadside, apparently attempting to interest passing drivers in the fossils they have for sale. Panicked, David swerves toward the two, leaving one dead on the road and the other running into the hills.

At the ksar, the festivities have begun: Richard and Dally’s international friends sit down to a lavish dinner prepared and served by a large staff of Moroccans. As the night progresses and the debauchery escalates, the Moroccans increasingly view the revelers as the godless "infidels" they are. When David and Jo show up late with the dead body of the young man in their car, word spreads among the locals that David has committed an unforgivable act.

Thus the stage is set for a weekend during which David and Jo must come to terms with David's misdeed, Jo's longings, and their own deteriorating relationship, and the flamboyant Richard and Dally must attempt to keep their revelers entertained despite growing tension from their staff and the Moroccan Berber father who comes to claim his son's body.

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 also 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.

Selected by The Economist as one of the Best Books of the Year 2012.

Selected by Library Journal as one of the Year's Best Books 2012.

Year's Best Books Chosen by Writers, selected by Lionel Shriver, The Guardian 2012.

©2012, 2013 Lawrence Osborne (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“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. Even better, Mr. Osborne has a keen and sometimes cruel eye for humans and their manners and morals, and for the natural world. You can open to almost any page and find brutally fine observations...surprising and dark and excellent.” (New York Times)

“Extraordinarily acute to human nature.... Stylishness holds the book together, and makes all the bits of plot machinery feel new again.... There are enough ways to read the book that one finishes it and immediately wants to start it again.” (Newsweek)

"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." (The Daily Mail)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

No for me

Saw this recommended in a newspaper article & wasn't my type of book and wouldn't be one I'd recommend. Not especially interesting & wording and phrases were almost comical at times.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Only marginal recommendation

Full of antiheroes and hedonists.
Great narration of story that I wouldn't have started in hindsight.