Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Don’t miss Chris Cleave’s brilliant new novel! 

Set during WWII, the story begins brash and full of youthful enthusiasm.  Mary skied down Mont-Chuoisi, escaped finishing school, and arrived in London going straight to the War Office where she volunteered to lend a hand during the hostilities.  Assuming she would be assigned to a General or made a spy; she was disappointed when Whitehall sent her to teach school, an occupation she undertook with much verve and originality to the dismay of the principal.  Mary came from a prestigious wealthy family; her father was inches away from becoming a member of the Cabinet.  The world was her oyster and she was determined not to miss any excitement the war might provide.

Of course, reality tends to intrude on our fantasy, there is real destruction, people suffer unbearable harm, and put in harm’s way people die.  As the war intensifies, Mary realizes the cost to those without her advantages and she matures.  

Alistair worked at the Tate, his roommate, Tom, was in charge of the schools.   Alistair joins up and is shocked by the brutality of war, first in France then in the siege of Malta.  Trying to do the right thing, he faced situations where good intentions led to tragedy.  Alistair goes from being a happy young man quick with quips and passionate about art to an officer doing his best for the men under his command.  He is compassionate with a strong sense of justice.

 Another memorable character is Zachary, one of Mary’s students, a black child who suffers racism and loss yet moves through life with a kind of cocky, grace.  What was amazing about this story is the way the characters start out so young, innocent and hopeful, how they are exposed to terrible situations, yet manage to hold a core of bravery and goodness despite it all. 

Cleave shows clearly how war is worse than people imagine; how wasteful, capricious and brutal it is.   Alistair is inspired by Cleave’s grandfather who survived the siege of Malta and squired around Randolph Churchill. 

I do not mean to convey that the story is unremittingly grim, it is not.  It is funny, touching, and endearing as well, so while parts of the story are necessarily somber; it is also a feel good book and very entertaining to read.

— Deon Stonehouse

May 2016 Indie Next List


“Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, from best-selling author Cleave, is storytelling at its finest. Ranging from the decimated streets of London after the Nazi blitz in WWII to the barren island of Malta under siege, Cleave's mastery is to introduce readers to characters in the midst of chaos who bring humanity to the sordid landscape of war. A book that will leave you both laughing and crying on the same page, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven reminds readers about the power of the novel in telling the fascinating stories of everyday people living in extraordinary times.”
— Casey Protti (E), Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Description


***AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER***

The “insightful, stark, and heartbreaking” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) novel about three lives entangled during World War II from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Little Bee.

“Cleave’s foray into historical fiction is both grand and intimate. The novel’s ability to stay small and quiet against the raging tableau of war is what also makes it glorious….an absorbing account of survival, racism, classism, love, and pain, and the scars left by all of them…Cleave’s prose is imbued with a Dickensian flair, deploying brilliant metaphors and crackling dialogue.” —The New York Times Book Review

“With dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion, Cleave paints a powerful portrait of war’s effects on those who fight and those left behind.” —People Book of the Week

“The London Blitz is cinematically re-imagined in a deeply moving new novel from Chris Cleave. As he did in Little Bee, he places forthright characters in impossible situations in Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, a story set during World War II.” —Carol Memmott, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

“Magnificent and profoundly moving…This dazzling novel of World War II is full of unforgettable characters and the keen emotional insights that moved readers of Chris Cleave’s Little Bee.” —Shelf Awareness

“Real, engaging characters, based loosely on Cleave’s own grandparents, come alive on the page. Insightful, stark, and heartbreaking, Cleave’s latest novel portrays the irrepressible hopefulness that can arise in the face of catastrophe.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave’s miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Beautifully written, funny, gut-wrenching, and, above all, honest.” The Daily Mail (UK)

“Intensely felt…Full of insight and memorably original phrasings.” —Booklist

“Well crafted and compelling…nostalgic and bittersweet.” Library Journal

London, 1939.

The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

About the Author


Chris Cleave is the author of Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Gold, Incendiary, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Little Bee. He lives with his wife and three children in London, England. Visit him at ChrisCleave.com or on Twitter @ChrisCleave.

Praise For…


PRAISE FOR EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN

“Cleave’s foray into historical fiction is both grand and intimate. The novel’s ability to stay small and quiet against the raging tableau of war is what also makes it glorious….an absorbing account of survival, racism, classism, love and pain, and the scars left by all of them…Cleave’s prose is imbued with a Dickensian flair, deploying brilliant metaphors and crackling dialogue.” 
New York Times Book Review, Editor's Pick

“With dazzling prose, sharp English wit, and compassion, Cleave paints a powerful portrait of war's effects on those who fight and those left behind.
People Magazine Book of the Week

“[An] intimate war epic…Cleave unflinchingly exposes the personal hang-ups of his characters as they grapple with hard life choices. He harnesses his immense talent for crafting gorgeously insightful turns of phrase to show us how courage and cowardice sometimes exist side-by-side in the same person — even in the same decision…both searing and timeless.”
Seattle Times

"The London Blitz is cinematically re-imagined in a deeply moving new novel from Chris Cleave. As he did in Little Bee, he places forthright characters in impossible situations in Everyone Brave Is Forgiven,a story set during World War II."
—Carol Memmott, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Magnificent and profoundly moving… This dazzling novel of World War II is full of unforgettable characters and the keen emotional insights that moved readers of Chris Cleave's Little Bee.”
—Shelf Awareness

“Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave's miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout, with irresistibly engaging characters who sharply illuminate issues of class, race, and wartime morality.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Real, engaging characters, based loosely on Cleave’s own grandparents, come alive on the page. Insightful, stark, and heartbreaking, Cleave’s latest novel portrays the irrepressible hopefulness that can arise in the face of catastrophe.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Intensely felt…Full of insight and memorably original phrasings, the story is leavened by sardonic humor… Cleave paints an emotion-filled portrait of a damaged city with its inequities amplified by war and of courageous individuals whose connections to one another make them stronger.”
Booklist

“Wonderful…Everyone Brave is Forgiven asks hard questions with no easy answers, reminding us of the price we pay every day just for being human.”
Miami Herald

PRAISE FOR CHRIS CLEAVE

Praise for Gold

“Cleave has the extremely rare power of making you smile with lively language and clever observations while he is thoroughly, irreparably breaking your heart.”
New York Newsday

“Cleave is an acutely intelligent wordsmith. Some of the sentences cut so deep you want to scream out in pain and recognition...This is an inspirational and moving novel in so many ways, and everyone should read it.”
The Times (UK)

Praise for Little Bee

"Little Bee will blow you away....In restrained, diamond-hard prose, Cleave alternates between these two characters' points of view as he pulls the threads of their dark -- but often funny -- story tight. What unfolds between them...is both surprising and inevitable, thoroughly satisfying if also heart-rending."
Washington Post

“Immensely readable and moving…an affecting story of human triumph.”
—The New York Times Book Review

Praise for Incendiary

"A mesmerizing tour de force: ragged, breathless, full of raw emotion, the blackest of humor and relentless action."
The Washington Post Book World

"Brilliant...This is a haunting work of art."
Newsweek


Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781501124372
ISBN-10: 1501124374
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Pages: 432
Language: English