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Forgiveness 4 You: A Novel
     

Forgiveness 4 You: A Novel

5.0 1
by Ann Bauer
 

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At once a brilliant satire set in the world of advertising and a serious reckoning with religion, the remarkable new novel by the author of The Forever Marriage

Forgiveness 4 You is a startlingly contemporary novel about faith and religion in an America addicted to quick fixes and instant gratification.
Gabriel McKenna is an

Overview

At once a brilliant satire set in the world of advertising and a serious reckoning with religion, the remarkable new novel by the author of The Forever Marriage

Forgiveness 4 You is a startlingly contemporary novel about faith and religion in an America addicted to quick fixes and instant gratification.
Gabriel McKenna is an ex-Catholic priest, and with his quiet job at a quiet bookstore, he is—slowly—rebuilding his life. But even at the bookstore, people from all walks of life find their way to him and feel compelled to share their stories and reveal to him their deepest, guiltiest secrets.
One of these people is Madeline Murray, a high-powered advertising executive, who, hours after her weepy confession, has a revelation: If she felt so comforted by this stranger, perhaps there’s something remunerative to his consoling abilities.
Madeline has a vision: a business that will offer a secu­lar form of confession and forgiveness—the comforts of religion, without the religion. Without knowing exactly how it happened (and whether any of it is morally sound) Gabriel is transformed by Madeline and her colleagues into the centerpiece of the forgiveness brand. And so a therapeutic revolution unleashes itself on America—or is about to, until a terrible secret threatens to torpedo the business and the man at the middle of it. Which would all be bad enough, were it not for temptation—in the form of Madeline herself.
In Forgiveness 4 You, Ann Bauer combines her gift for characterization with a broad American canvas to dazzling effect. Written with verve and confidence, Forgiveness 4 You is an unusually ambitious novel that blends cutting-edge satire with a serious mediation on faith in the twenty-first century.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/02/2015
Former Catholic priest Gabriel McKenna is working in a bookstore when advertising executive Madeline Murray walks in. Like most people who meet him, she feels compelled to confess her sins. When Gabe helps her come to terms with her guilt, she decides that he has a natural talent for absolution, and thinks of a brilliant marketing scheme—forgiveness for hire—but is unaware that Gabe's own hidden sins might implicate the business. Gabe's first-person narrative is interspersed with the electronic missives of Madeline's staff and their particularly delightful "marketing" material (sample tagline: "Expert Exonerations for Everyday Sins"). Bauer (Forever Marriage) has hit upon a thought-provoking concept: Can confession and absolution function in a non-religious setting? Can absolution be purchased and, if so, from whom? But though the concept itself reaches towards the literary, the novel reads more like the steamy romances Gabe sells at the bookstore. Creative takes on confession and forgiveness (quoting everything from Oscar Wilde to, of course, the Bible) drown in unbelievable and cliché-filled prose. The great idea and solid plot wish for better writing quality to match. (Mar.)
The Wall Street Journal
“An intelligent, thought-provoking and quietly unnerving work”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Humorously, compassionately and cynically, forgiveness becomes a business in this compelling novel”
Slate
“But who’s offering absolution in a secular age? Ann Bauer’s warmly satirical novel Forgiveness 4 You offers an answer from a neoliberal dystopia: the marketplace.”
Booklist
“The author of previous novels, including The Forever Marriage (2012), has crafted an exploration of absolution that manages to be simultaneously irreverent and compassionate.”
Jessica Grose
“I
love all of Ann Bauer's writing, but what makes this book so special is how wonderfully humane it is. It's a rare thing for a story to be so sharp and yet so compassionate, but Forgiveness 4 You manages to send up craven ad execs and make your heart hurt for them at the same time. It might even make you be a little kinder to yourself about your own past transgressions, which speaks to the depth and soul of this brilliant novel.”
Randy Susan Meyers
“Forgiveness 4 You is probing, startlingly honest, and remarkably empathic. Ann Bauer’s scrutiny of hunger for absolution crossing into the fearsome unbounded web, where religion goes online, and advertisers attempt to monetize the process, provides strong answers suffused with compassion. This story is as captivating and strikingly written as it is provocative. I inhaled this novel.”
Christopher Castellani
“In this engrossing novel, Ann Bauer turns her sharp and empathetic eye on a cast of broken people trying to find meaning in an increasingly cynical world. In the tradition of George Saunders, Forgiveness 4 You imagines a near future where everything—even grace—can be commodified,but where our better angels still wield surprising power.”
Susan Jane Gilman
“At turns touching, insightful, and deliciously cynical, FORGIVENESS 4 YOU is a rare novel, indeed. Its premise is wholly original, and it addresses both profound human struggles and current popular culture with humor and compassion. Terrific for book clubs, it’s sure to spark plenty of laughter and debate.”
Martin Kihn
“A poignant and very funny story about the advertising of redemption and, yes, the redemption of advertising. And like all good ex-Catholic priests, Gabriel McKenna bears a secret in his soul. Amen, I say. FORGIVENESS 4 YOU is Graham Greene for the Age of Twitter.”
Kirkus Reviews
2015-01-08
In a time when most anything can be bought and sold, forgiveness and absolution are hot commodities.Though Gabriel McKenna, a former Catholic priest, left the church during an emotional breakdown on the altar one Easter morning, he can't seem to escape his calling. As a bookstore employee who is barely able to afford his modest lifestyle, he finds that people are drawn to him, seeking forgiveness and understanding of their past indiscretions. Madeline Murray, a high-powered executive, stumbles into Gabe's bookshop and almost immediately reveals her deepest regrets about her failed marriage and stint as a stepmother. While this kind of thing might seem unusual, Gabe comments that it happens all the time: "People regularly dissolved in my presence—even those who didn't realize that they were harboring shame." From this chance encounter, an unlikely business partnership is formed when Madeline realizes that what Gabe can offer—forgiveness without religious affiliation, absolution for a price—might be exactly what a media-saturated and selfish society needs. Through a series of emails, text transcripts and feverish memos developing "Forgiveness 4 You" as a brand, interspersed with Gabe's first-person narration, the novel swings between comedy and tragedy, all while meditating on the themes of guilt and forgiveness. Bauer (The Forever Marriage, 2012, etc.) writes with humor and compassion about a business that is both bizarre and entirely all too real and the flawed and ultimately human characters behind it.
From the Publisher
"An intelligent, thought-provoking and quietly unnerving work" —The Wall Street Journal

"Humorously, compassionately and cynically, forgiveness becomes a business in this compelling novel" —The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This novel is fresh and original, and the wholly satisfying ending doesn’t at all take the easy way out." —Library Journal Review

"But who’s offering absolution in a secular age? Ann Bauer’s warmly satirical novel Forgiveness 4 You offers an answer from a neoliberal dystopia: the marketplace." —Slate

“I love all of Ann Bauer's writing, but what makes this book so special is how wonderfully humane it is. It's a rare thing for a story to be so sharp and yet so compassionate, but Forgiveness 4 You manages to send up craven ad execs and make your heart hurt for them at the same time. It might even make you be a little kinder to yourself about your own past transgressions, which speaks to the depth and soul of this brilliant novel.”— Jessica Grose, author of Sad Desk Salad
 
Forgiveness 4 You is probing, startlingly honest, and remarkably empathic. Ann Bauer’s scrutiny of hunger for absolution crossing into the fearsome unbounded web, where religion goes online, and advertisers attempt to monetize the process, provides strong answers suffused with compassion. This story is as captivating and strikingly written as it is provocative. I inhaled this novel.”—Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters, The Comfort of Lies & Accidents of Marriage

“In this engrossing novel, Ann Bauer turns her sharp and empathetic eye on a cast of broken people trying to find meaning in an increasingly cynical world. In the tradition of George Saunders, Forgiveness 4 You imagines a near future where everything—even grace—can be commodified, but where our better angels still wield surprising power.”Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love

“At turns touching, insightful, and deliciously cynical, FORGIVENESS 4 YOU is a rare novel, indeed. Its premise is wholly original, and it addresses both profound human struggles and current popular culture with humor and compassion. Terrific for book clubs, it’s sure to spark plenty of laughter and debate.”—Susan Jane Gilman, bestselling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress and The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street
 
“A poignant and very funny story about the advertising of redemption and, yes, the redemption of advertising. And like all good ex-Catholic priests, Gabriel McKenna bears a secret in his soul. Amen, I say. FORGIVENESS 4 YOU is Graham Greene for the Age of Twitter.”—Martin Kihn, Author of House of Lies and Bad Dog (A Love Story)

"Bauer (The Forever Marriage, 2012, etc.) writes with humor and compassion about a business that is both bizarre and entirely all too real and the flawed and ultimately human characters behind it." —Kirkus

"The author of previous novels, including The Forever Marriage (2012), has crafted an exploration of absolution that manages to be simultaneously irreverent and compassionate." —Booklist

 

Praise for The Forever Marriage:

“Funny, surprising and gratifyingly honest, this novel poses unsparing questions about love and betrayal and the reasons we make the choices we do.” —MORE Magazine

“Bauer and The Forever Marriage poignantly and powerfully illustrate the great and often tragic ironies of life.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“With lovely prose and fine pacing, Bauer offers a sensitive portrait of a flawed woman coming to terms with a lifetime of regrets.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781468310238
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
03/17/2015
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,230,787
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for The Forever Marriage:

“Funny, surprising and gratifyingly honest, this novel poses unsparing questions about love and betrayal and the reasons we make the choices we do.” —MORE Magazine

“Bauer and The Forever Marriage poignantly and powerfully illustrate the great and often tragic ironies of life.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“With lovely prose and fine pacing, Bauer offers a sensitive portrait of a flawed woman coming to terms with a lifetime of regrets.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Meet the Author

Ann Bauer is author of two novels, The Forever Marriage and A Wild Ride up the Cupboards, and co-author of the culinary memoir, Damn Good Food. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, Redbook, and The Sun. From 2006 to 2010, she was a regular contributor to Salon. She splits her time between Minneapolis and Boston.

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Forgiveness 4 You: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
constantreaderRM More than 1 year ago
Wondrous mix of humor, serious look at religion, forgiving ourselves and other and the commercialization of spirituality.