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The Forgiven

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 30, 2012 – Osborne’s rich new novel (after the nonfiction Bangkok Days) follows British couple David and Jo Henniger into the Moroccan desert for a debauched weekend at their friends’ palatial ksar. Driving to the estate, David is distracted while arguing with Jo, and consequently hits and kills a young Moroccan. When they arrive at the party, corpse in tow, their hosts help David deal with the police while the servants keep vigil with the body. The next morning, the dead boy’s father, Abdellah, arrives and demands that David return with him to help bury his son. No sooner has David departed and left Jo behind than charming American Tom Day sets his amorous sights on the unhappily married Jo. Meanwhile, Abdellah weighs whether to avenge his son’s death by killing David. Although the Hennigers finally begin to scrutinize their choices (as unflinchingly as Osborne surveys his characters), their repentance may not be enough to sway their fates. With nods to Paul Bowles and Evelyn Waugh, Osborne portrays the vacuity of high society as gorgeously and incisively as he does the unease of cultures thrust together in the unforgiving desert.

Customer Reviews

The Forgiven

My favorite novels are inevitably set in vivid, exotic places where fascinating stories take place. They are written with imagination and a compelling use of language.
The Forgiven is an almost perfect example of the above.
If the characters were just a bit more dimensional "almost" would not be in the previous sentence.
Please give us more of the same!

I give this book Three Yawns.

I read this book and kept waiting on something to happen.
Essentially, it's a story of a three day party weekend, where no character is really fully developed, nor fully likeable. And while the descriptions of Morocco are so vivid, (and remind me of why I will never go back and visit that country again), there was not enough substance to keep me from being totally disappointed in the story.

The Forgiven
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Sep 25, 2012
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings