“War made one do everything when one wasn’t at all ready. Dying, yes, but also living.”
This line is one of my favorites from Chris Cleave’s latest novel, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. This intensely-felt story, set in London during the Blitzkrieg, follows four privileged young Londoners as their world falls apart around them.
Inspired by his grandparents’ experience in World War II, Cleave has crafted a moving and compelling story with very real and engaging characters that sharply explores issues of class, race, and wartime morality.
As Mary, Hilda, Tom and Alistair face their own personal battles -- losing their sense of entitlement and moral innocence -- we are taken on a transformative journey where one’s connection to another serves as a lifeline in a country where injustices are amplified by war. Throughout the story, brutal experiences on the battlefield are countered with sardonic humor, enduring friendships and a romantic love story.
In the author’s notes, Cleave writes that when he was beginning the project, he wanted to write a small and personal story about the Second World War. He says, “I wanted the reader to come away wondering whether forgiveness is possible at a national level or whether it is only achievable between courageous individuals.”
Insightful, heartbreaking and filled with memorable passages, this is one of the best books I have ever read.
Stop by the Sioux City Public Library to check out Everyone Brave is Forgiven or let our staff help you find your next unforgettable read.