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The Promise: Book summary and reviews of The Promise by Damon Galgut

The Promise

by Damon Galgut

The Promise by Damon Galgut X
The Promise by Damon Galgut
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2021
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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 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.

WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2021

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  • award image Booker Prize, 2021

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the keenly observant Galgut offers a deeply affecting family saga spanning decades of upheaval in South Africa...This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Galgut's multifarious writing style is bold and unusual, providing an initial barrier to entry yet achieving an intuitive logic over time...Galgut extends his extraordinary corpus with a rich story of family, history, and grief." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"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 (starred review)

"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." - New Yorker

"This bravura novel about the undoing of a bigoted South African family during apartheid deserves awards." - The Guardian (UK)

"A magisterial, heart-stopping novel." - The Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"The Promise is close to a folk tale or the retelling of a myth about fate and loss...The story has an astonishing sense of depth, as though the characters were imagined over time, with slow tender care." - Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn

"The Promise's power and immediacy merge to create an outstanding novel of its time." - Joan Bakewell, author of All the Nice Girls and The Centre of the Bed

"The Promise recalls the great achievements of modernism in its imagistic brilliance, its caustic disenchantment, its relentless research into the human. For formal innovation and moral seriousness, Damon Galgut is very nearly without peer. He is an essential writer." - Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness and What Belongs to You

This information about The Promise shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Damon Galgut

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.

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