Unlike many authors, Galgut admits to the autobiographical nature of his fiction. Writing from both first- and third-person perspectives, he firmly places his audience into the action as it's happening to the young Damon; then, rather disconcertingly, he reflects upon his younger self from a distance of many years. We meet a rootless man, born in South Africa yet not at home there, wandering the world neither searching for nor escaping from anything. He travels through Greece, India, and Africa, picking up and shaking off companions along the way, seemingly incapable of forging meaningful connections. There is sexual tension with Reiner, a beautiful young man who follows him to a hostel in Greece, and the potential for a relationship with a Swiss soldier that doesn't come to fruition. His only long-term friendship, with Anna, breaks under the crushing stranglehold of the bipolar disorder that threatens her life. Verdict Loss, loneliness, betrayal, and death inhabit this melancholy novel, which is redeemed by the gorgeous prose style, simple yet so evocative. This is the second time that Galgut's work has been honored as a finalist for a Booker Prize (following The Good Doctor), and one section of this three-part novel received an O. Henry Award after appearing in The Paris Review. Smart readers will be asking about it.-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was seventeen. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor and The Imposter. The Good Doctor was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Dublin/IMPAC Award. The Imposter was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He lives in Cape Town.
'Beautiful. Strikingly conceived and hauntingly written.' Jan Morris, Guardian