Forgive Me
Amanda Eyr Ward

Random House
June 07, 2007
Hardcover/236 pages
ISBN: 978-0-345-49446-7
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". . . ambitious, short, and a good read."

Ward’s third novel, Forgive Me, is ambitious, short, and a good read. Set in Massachusetts, Mexico, and South Africa, it’s primarily a journalist’s story. Nadine Morgan is the kind of reporter who finds herself “running toward gunfire”, to use one of the most memorable phrases in the novel. The plot takes her back to South Africa to deal with the aftermath of a murder and a tragic love affair. But she winds up dealing with much more…

The most effective element in Forgive Me is the African portion of the novel. In addition to vivid description, Ward has managed to capture the unique voices of the land. The effect is not only photographic but also cinematic.

Less effective is the complicated structure that weaves flashbacks and flash forwards throughout the narrative, in service of the theme of motherhood that supposedly ties the various time frames together. I have a feeling this approach would have worked well in a longer novel.

Ward’s disciplined prose and thoughtful construction make the experience of reading the novel somewhat more intellectual and less emotional than she intends. I found myself imagining a good movie lurking in the complexities of the plot. A scriptwriter possibly could figure out a way to streamline the story, taking full advantage of its wonderful setting.
Reviewer: Elizabeth Hadas