The Promise
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Masterful new fiction from twice Booker-shortlisted author Damon Galgut

About the Author

DAMON GALGUT is a novelist who has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (The Good Doctor and In A Strange Room). His most recent novel, Arctic Summer, was nominated for the Walter Scott and Folio prizes and his fiction has been published in sixteen languages. A film adaptation of The Quarry, starring Michael Shannon, was released in 2020. Damon Galgut lives and works in Cape Town.

Reviews

Stunning . . . Galgut deploys every trick in the book; he's heart-swellingly attentive to emotional complexity . . . Galgut has twice been shortlisted [for the Booker prize] . . . don't be surprised if Galgut goes one better this year -- Anthony Cummins * Observer *
Galgut seems to deliver effortlessly...there's nothing he can't do... [his] style is quiet but the book feels bursting with life because of all the of all the off-page, between-times details he hints at... This is so obviously one of the best novels of the year... a book that answers the question "what is a novel for?" With a simple: "This!" -- John Self * The Times *
The Promise functions as a spare but thoroughly satisfying parable, the decline of the Swarts into moral degeneracy and death tracing the forsaken promises of the post-apartheid era, from early hope to the contemporary realities of corruption and racial enmity . . . [a] magisterial, heart-stopping novel -- Nat Segnit * Times Literary Supplement *
A complex, ambitious and brilliant work - one that provides Galgut's fullest exploration yet of the poisonous legacy of apartheid . . . Galgut describes his characters with rare assurance and skill, conjuring them to life in a narrative voice that moves restlessly from character to character . . . Rarely have I had such a strong sense, while reading a novel, that I myself was there, in the room with the characters -- William Skidelsky * Financial Times *
The Promise is fully rooted in contemporary South Africa, but the novel's weather moves into the elemental while attending also to the daily, the detailed and the personal. The book is close to a folktale or the retelling of a myth about fate and loss, about three siblings and land, a promise made and broken. The story has an astonishing sense of depth, as though the characters were imagined over time, with slow tender care -- Colm Toibin

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