Short Story Review: ‘The Forgiveness Thing’

Story Title: The Forgiveness Thing
Collection/Anthology?: Not applicable. Available for free download (PDF format) from the Costa Short Story Award website.
Briefly: Brutally attacked and disfigured, the narrator is questioned by a journalist on her feelings about forgiveness.
Afterthoughts: The Forgiveness Thing is a very dialogue driven tale, that appears to have more hidden between the lines than in the words themselves. It’s cleverly done, with the story exploring the subject of forgiveness – or as it transpires, not exactly forgiveness – from a unique angle, and although for the most part I prefer my short stories to be a little more ‘happening’, I found much value in the serious and introspective nature of this tale.

Notable quote: It never not comes up, the forgiveness thing. It isn’t always the first question, but everyone gets round to it at some point.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

costa_book_awards75 This story was read as preparation for casting a vote for the 2013 Costa Short Story Award. In all, six stories were selected by the award panel before being put to the public vote. All stories were presented without note of the author, so that each story would be judged on merit alone. For further details, please visit the Costa Short Story Award website.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I thought this story was brave and contemporary, thought-provoking!

  2. This was my favourite, not least because I found all of the others rather ‘samey’ – to me they could almost have all been written by the same person. I know that unusual locations and desperate lives seem to be the in thing at the moment, but I’m afraid there was little I could identify with in any of the other stories, whereas the characters in this one seemed much less contrived.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      I totally hear you on the samey feel of most of the stories. You’ve almost convinced me that The Forgiveness Thing stands out for its individuality and uniqueness.