A modern family saga that could only have come from South Africa, written in gorgeous prose by twice Booker Prize-shortlisted author Damon Galgut.
Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their...Read More
Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa; Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life's unfulfilled potential; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt.
Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country - an atmosphere of resentment, renewal, and, ultimately, hope. The Promise is an epic drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of national history, sure to please current fans and attract many new ones.
Damon Galgut's 2003 novel The Good Doctor won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In a Strange Room (Europa, 2010) was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2013, Galgut was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
"Galgut extends his extraordinary corpus with a rich story of family, history, and grief." - Kirkus Reviews
"This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing." - Publishers Weekly
"Galgut's compelling new novel blends characters and history and intricate themes to reveal the devastating impacts of white privilege and institutional racism...The Promise is timely, relevant, and thematically significant." - Booklist
"The novel carries within it the literary spirits of Woolf and Joyce... To praise the novel in its particulars--for its seriousness; for its balance of formal freedom and elegance; for its humor, its precision, its human truth--seems inadequate and partial. Simply: you must read it." - Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine
"Galgut's novel most closely resembles the work of predecessors like Woolf and Faulkner. The novel's beautifully peculiar narration aerates and complicates this fatal family fable, and turns plot into deep meditation... Galgut is wonderfully, Woolfianly adept." - James Wood, The New Yorker
"Time and again in Mr. Galgut's fiction, South Africa materializes, vast, astonishing, resonant. And on this vastness, he stages intimate dramas that have the force of ancient myth." - Anna Mundow, Wall Street Journal
"The Promise offers all the virtues of realist fiction, plus some extras. A reader can shrug it all off and focus on the family's story, or take pleasure in a brash writer's narrative norm-breaking... In comparison [to Coetzee], Galgut is a gleeful satirist, mordantly skewering his characters' fecklessness and hypocrisy." - Rand Richards Cooper, The New York Times Book Review
"This bravura novel about the undoing of a bigoted South African family during apartheid deserves awards." - The Guardian
"A family saga that moves from the 1980s to the present, it's a complex, ambitious and brilliant work--one that provides Galgut's fullest exploration yet of the poisonous legacy of apartheid." - Financial Times (UK)
"A South African family saga bursting with life is one of the best books of the year." - The Times (UK)
"A magisterial, heart-stopping novel." - The Times Literary Supplement