Hardcover. Written by Marina Cantacuzino.
I forgive you.
Three simple words behind which sits an intriguing and complex concept. These words can be used to absolve a meaningless squabble, or said to someone who has caused you great harm. They can liberate you from guilt, or consciously place blame on your shoulders.
Forgiveness can often be perceived as saccharine and overtly religious, something just for the spiritually superior or mentally strong. But really it is a gritty, risky concept that is so often relevant to our ordinary everyday lives. Forgiveness explores the subject from every angle, coming from a place of enquiry rather than persuasion, presenting it as an offering, never a prescription.
Marina Cantacuzino seeks to investigate, unpick and debate the limits and possibilities of forgiveness – in our relationships, for our physical and mental wellbeing, how it plays out in international politics and within the criminal justice system, and where it intersects with religious faith. Cantacuzino speaks to people across the globe who have considered forgiveness in different forms and circumstances. She talks to a survivor of Auschwitz; to someone who accidentally killed a friend; to people who have lost loved ones in acts of violence; to a former combatant in The Troubles as well as to the daughter of someone he murdered.
Through these real stories, expert opinion and the author’s experience from two decades working in this field, the reader gets to better understand what forgiveness is and what it most definitely isn’t, how it can be an important element in breaking the cycle of suffering, and ultimately how it might help transform fractured relationships and mend broken hearts.
Praise for the book
‘There have been few more appropriate and vital moments for this fascinating book to emerge than now as we bear witness to so many acts requiring forgiveness – the complexity of the practice of forgiveness, its meanings, its measure as a force for change are all here – and most of all, its power to prevent the repetition of the worst in our human behaviour and the possibility of finding freedom from hatred’
– Emma Thompson
‘This is an utterly memorable book – beautifully written, fascinating in its insights, and extraordinarily moving. We all need to forgive, and this book, through its recounting of the stories of people who have something really significant to forgive, will be an inspiration to help us reach a state of forgiveness. This is a book that will stay with the reader for a very long time’
– Alexander McCall Smith
‘A wise and generous investigation of one of life’s most difficult but necessary experiences’
– Richard Holloway
‘This important book will speak to anyone who has ever suffered harm, or caused harm to others; which is all of us. The work is unflinching in its honesty and emphasis on forgiveness as a process that cannot be imposed; but it is also immensely hopeful as it invites us to see the possibilities of forgiveness as a human stance that offers hope and freedom from hatred. Anyone with a serious interest in human cruelty and suffering should read this book; it will stretch your mind’
– Gwen Adshead, author of The Devil You Know
‘This reassuring and uplifting book testifies to the truth of forgiveness . . . Both provocative and full of hope’
– Jon Snow
‘A profoundly moving and important book’
– Professor Anthony Costello
‘It is absolutely remarkable how Marina Cantacuzino navigates the vast and complex terrain of forgiveness with such sensitivity, honesty and insight. By skilfully drawing together the threads of personal stories with their infinite nuance and seeming contradictions, she enables and inspires her readers to explore the option of forgiveness within their own lives. I cannot think of a more relevant subject for these challenging times in which humanity’s needs for hope, love and renewal seem stronger than ever’
– Angela Findlay, author of In My Grandfather’s Shadow
‘This is a book of compelling stories, beautifully told, illustrating the myriad aspects of forgiveness. What it is not is a self-help “how to forgive” manual. Rather it is something more subtle, gentle and ultimately more inspiring. It invites each of us to delve deep and investigate the contours of forgiveness in our own minds. The result is a revelatory read – one that might even be life-changing’
– Rachel Kelly, mental health advocate and author of Sunday Times bestseller Black Rainbow
‘This book is so profoundly for the current moment that I encourage you to read it without delay. What is forgiveness? Impossible yet necessary; difficult yet obvious; painful yet alive with promise. Compelling, convincing and compassionate, this book will make you to examine your relationship with yourself, with others, and with the world. A work as beautiful as it is important’
– Tessa McWatt, author of Shame on Me
‘This book is a beautiful tour de force. about a very hard subject — an important read for everyone who has wrestled with forgiving, being forgiven, or both’
– Sally Kohn, activist and author of The Opposite Of Hate: A Field Guide To Repairing Our Humanity
‘What marks Marina Cantacuzino’s book on forgiveness is that it is an enquiry rather than a persuasion. With journalistic skill, she observes, questions and considers stories; offering insights, but never prescribing. She amplifies stories we never want to hear, but desperately need to hear, offering wisdom from a human tradition that is as embodied as it is enduring: how to survive what we think is unsurvivable. I’ve followed her work for years, and this brilliant book is a remarkable exploration of her decades-long fascination with Forgiveness, its complications and its gifts’
– Pádraig Ó Tuama
‘Not only is this book exceptional for its human interest and accessibility, it is full of profound insights into the complexity of forgiveness and its wide range of meanings, problems and benefits. Every page exudes the empathy-filled curiosity that has characterized Marina’s exploration of forgiveness over the last two decades. Few will be able to read it without catching some of the empathy or sharing the curiosity, and no one will read it without becoming a little wiser and more humane’
– The Reverend Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean, King’s College, Cambridge
‘A book of true beauty. A powerful reminder of how forgiveness can transform lives and restore hope. Important, moving and profoundly humane’
– Francesca Martinez
‘Profound, spellbinding and deeply moving. Essential reading for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of what it is to be human. Cantacuzino is a consummate storyteller weaving gold from the stories of those who’ve taken the courageous messy journey to the freedom that forgiveness ultimately yields. Inspiring, compelling and superbly written, I couldn’t put it down’
– Jennifer Nadel, author, broadcaster, campaigner and co-founder Compassion in Politics
‘Marina Cantacuzino is a passionate advocate of the value of forgiveness. In this highly readable book she explores how individuals achieve forgiveness and how it can break the cycle of hate, revenge and retaliation, and how it can transform the lives of both the perpetrator and the victim or their loved ones.’
– Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University and author of Zero Degrees of Empathy
‘Forgiveness is a profoundly thought-provoking and beautifully written book. Cantacuzino leads us through stories of pain and stories of forgiveness with such a light footstep and so much nuanced reflection. She is never dogmatic; never moralises, never tells us what ought to be done, but creates a work in which we examine our own stance and feelings about the role of forgiveness in life. A wonderful, heart-braking, elevating read’
– Bea Setton, author of Berlin