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A novel by


'One of the finest contemporary novels I've read ... A moral masterpiece' ANN PATCHETT

'Her writing has a luminous kind of clarity, a grace and scope that fills me with wonder' RACHEL JOYCE

'Damning and dazzling ... The story of a Vietnam we never got in history class' OPRAH DAILY


You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.

1963. Saigon. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney working for US Navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. The two women form a wary alliance as they struggle to balance the pressure to be respectable wives for their ambitious husbands, with their own dubious impulses to “do good” for the people of Vietnam.

Sixty years later, Charlene's daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam veteran, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, discovering how their lives as women on the periphery - of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands' convictions - have been shaped and burdened by the unintended consequences of America's tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

Exploring the disaster of the Vietnam War through the lives built by American wives in 1960s Saigon, this is a virtuosic novel about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice and the quest for absolution in a broken world.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"With Absolution, Alice McDermott delivers another elegantly written, immaculately conceived novel that immerses the reader in the contradictions and moral ambiguities of the human heart. McDermott is a storyteller who aims for the stars. Absolution takes us there, by way of wartime Saigon, and with a powerful reminder that good intentions can have consequences that jerk us awake over a lifetime. What a splendid, compelling book this is." - Tim O'Brien

"Alice McDermott has always been one of our greatest writers but here she exceeds every expectation. Absolution is one of the finest contemporary novels I've read. It is a moral masterpiece." - Ann Patchett

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