Lawrence Osborne is the critically acclaimed and internationally bestselling author of the novels The Forgiven and The Ballad of a Small Player, and of six books of nonfiction, including The Wet and The Dry. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Forbes, Harper's, and several other publications. He currently lives in Bangkok.
Lawrence Osborne's website
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Is The Forgiven based on a true story?
Yes, though I reworked it to fit my own idea of a story. The characters are mine, and I was very familiar with the landscape in which the story occurs long before I heard the tale that I eventually used. In fact, the original story immediately reminded me of a place where I had spent a lot of time years before. And it seemed probable. It resonated with what I remembered of my own sometimes difficult relations when staying in the Saharathat feeling of not knowing where you are, or not knowing if the surface and depth of other people are aligned or whether they exist in the same context as you do. The Westerner there is always alone and slightly bewildered.
You've been all over the world as a travel writer. Why did you choose Morocco as the setting for your novel?
I had lived there for a while, and I also made a trip into the desert near Erfoud and Rissani to explore fossils. The mountain of Issomour had been so impressive to meI could not stop thinking about it for years. There was a kind of dread about it that was difficult to express. And the villages around it, which I have described (though the names are altered slightly), were always incredibly ominous and ...
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