“The Forgiven”: When an Unstoppable Force Meets and Immovable Object

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The Infidel, convinced of the right of his colonial vision, meets the savage, who thinks in ways alien to the civilized man.

That’s what happens in Osborne’s novel The Forgiven. A horrendous accident. A Gatsby-with-more-drugs-and-gay party on the fringes of a conservative town.

Not all the characters in this novel are very well formed. Osborne can’t seem to decide if he wants one-dimensional allegory people or three-dimensional sympathetic characters. But although that’s sometimes annoying, I found this idea of the Force and Object intriguing enough to keep reading.

The Infidel, David, and the Savage, Abdellah, meet and are forced to change by the meeting. They are forced to confront the one-dimensionality of their selves. And that’s where this novel soars.

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