In a nuanced twist on his usual themes — war, loyalty, ethics — Ward Just here examines the post-9/11 landscape. Aging American painter Thomas Railles moves to a rugged Pyrenees village after he marries Florette, a Frenchwoman. But when Florette, hiking in the mountains, is murdered by Moroccan extremists, Railles looks to his own past, which involved working several times with the CIA. What will he do when he finds Florette’s killers — seek revenge or understanding? Many of our best writers, from John Updike to Ian McEwan, are grappling with 9/11 and its fall-out; Just’s take, Forgetfulness, may be the best yet.

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