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ForbesOver almost 40 years and 14 novels, Ward Just has gathered critical acclaim, though perhaps not the wide-spread readership he deserves. Forgetfulness, his engrossing new novel about an American expatriate whose wife may or may not have fallen victim to terrorists, gives fresh cause for an introduction. Like Graham Greene or John le Carré, Just poses tricky political and emotional questions: Does personal tragedy license moral compromise? Is the War on Terror an open field for revenge? Thomas Railles, a painter and sometime spy, loses his wife, Florette, to four mysterious men outside their village in the French Pyrenées. Her body is found half-frozen, her throat cut. Weeks later, Railles's loyal friend and CIA contact, Bernard Sindelar, turns up a gang of Moroccans detained in Le Havre with pur-ported terrorist connections, one of whom, under questioning, mentions Florette's name. Sindelar presses Railles to wit-ness the ongoing interrogation, to medicate his grief with a dose of torture. Railles's ambivalence, his twin desires to avenge his wife's death and regain some equilibrium by putting it behind him, give Forgetfulness its depth of feeling. Railles wants certainty and closure-- two comforts the novel reminds us are scarce on the ground these days.