A renowned, reclusive grande dame of South African literature, Clare Wald has surprised everyone by choosing an unknown, Sam Leroux, to be her official biographer - allowing him into her home to interrogate her and her work. Sam has his own reasons for accepting the position; he has followed Clare's career obsessively his whole life, for motives known only to him. Throughout their meetings neither Clare nor Sam acknowledges the deeply personal past that links them, but as their relationship unfolds, each begins to realize that the other knows more than he or she has let on. The key lies with Clare's daughter, Laura, an active member of the anti-apartheid movement, who disappeared without a trace twenty years earlier.
Set in contemporary South Africa, Absolution is a stunningly crafted story. Shifting through time and place, Patrick Flanery brilliantly weaves together four different perspectives - Sam's version of the past, Clare's version of the past, Clare's imagination of Laura's life, and a fourth thread revealing what might have really happened - to offer powerful insights into the elusive nature of truth, memory and interpretation.