Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is essentially a story about what courage is, and how it reveals itself under pressure. While it lacks the hallucinatory brilliance of Bowen’s The Demon Lover or the emotional power and complexity of Waters’ The Night Watch, it is an absorbing, sharply paced novel.
Cleave uses these young people to expose human suffering during this terrible time in history, but he encircles all the tragedies in the human heart’s capacity to heal, regain hope and move on. This is a novel that embraces human confidence that life can be patched and sutured to resemble happier times. In the end, Cleave remixes the novel’s title, writing, 'It was a world one might still know, if everyone forgiven was brave.'”
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven is a narrative of redemption. All the same, it leaves the novel with significant problems because it flattens out the conflicts, rendering them more as device or backdrop than transformative experience ... War, like any great upheaval, alters us — or it ought to — turning our hearts and psyches unexpectedly. In Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, however, such a turning never happens, since the characters come to us fully formed.