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Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven

Author: Chris Cleave

Pages: 432

Edition: Hardcover

List Price: $26.99

Published: May, 2016

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781501124372

Highest rank: #15 on 14th, May 2016

First entered: 7th, May 2016

Number of weeks: 4

Book Summary


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.

“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.


Chris Cleave

Name: Chris Cleave

Hometown: London

About the author:

Chris Cleave was born in London and spent his early years in Cameroon. He studied experimental psychology at Balliol College, Oxford. His debut novel, INCENDIARY, won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and is now a feature film. His second novel, LITTLE BEE, is a New York Times #1 bestseller with over 2 million copies in print. GOLD is his third novel. He lives in London with his wife and three children. Chris Cleave enjoys dialogue with his readers and invites all comers to introduce themselves on Twitter; he can be found at or on his website at

Q & A

What was your favourite childhood book?

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis

Which book has made you laugh?

Great Lies to Tell Small Kids by Andy Riley

Which book has made you cry?

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

What are your top five books of all time, in order or otherwise?

Mrs. Dalloway (Woolf)
Germinal (Zola)
Voyage au Bout de la Nuit (Céline)
The Road (McCarthy)
100 Years of Solitude (Garcia Márquez)

What is your favourite word?

"Nooba". It's a word peculiar to my family, although I can't remember where it came from or which of my kids coined it. To "do the nooba" is to muck around when you're supposed to be going to sleep. As in, "Stop doing the nooba, boo-boo, it's way past your bedtime." I like it because you can only say it with a smile.

Which fictional character would you most like to have met?

Sally Seton, Clarissa Dalloway's childhood companion, when we were all young.

Is there a particular book or author that inspired you to be a writer?

Definitely. In my teens it was Milan Kundera who made me realise how exciting it would be to write, and Primo Levi who made me realise how important it was, and Tibor Fischer who made me suspect the whole thing would be fun.

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