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The promise
2021
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Brief Descriptions

A modern saga that could only have come from South Africa, written in gorgeous prose by the 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 promises; 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.

"Galgut will be seen as one of the great literary triumphs of South Africa's transition [ . . . ] in every way the equal of J. M. Coetzee.''Rian Malan, author of My Traitor's Heart

- (Perseus Publishing)

WINNER OF THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE

A modern family saga written in gorgeous prose by three-time 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—one 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.

“Simply: you must read it.”—Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine

- (Perseus Publishing)

Author Biography

<p><strong>Damon Galgut</strong> was born in Pretoria. His 2003 novel <em>The Good Doctor</em> won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. <em>In a Strange Room</em> (Europa, 2010) was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2021, Galgut won the Booker Prize for <em>The Promise </em>(Europa, 2021). In 2013, Galgut was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.</p> - (Perseus Publishing)

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Reviews Via Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the keenly observant Galgut (Arctic Summer) offers a deeply affecting family saga spanning decades of upheaval in South Africa. The promise referenced by the title, made but never kept, is first overheard in fragments by preteen Amor, youngest daughter of the white Swarts family, when her father vows to Amor's dying mother that he would bequeath a house on their property to their Black maid, Salome. Ten years later, Amor reunites with her vain sister, Astrid, and unpredictable brother, Anton, after their father suffers a fatal snakebite. Amor has not forgotten the promise, and Anton, an army deserter with grandiose plans to write a novel, assures Amor he will follow through after having inherited the house himself. A decade later, tension brews between the siblings as Astrid and Anton resist Amor's calls to legally transfer the property to Salome, who now lives in it. Galgut's astounding prose effortlessly navigates the roiling thoughts of his characters (Astrid, on her boredom: "That's my life, she thinks, miles and miles of brown grass"; Anton, meanwhile, looks "for something... searching and searching, but fucked if he can remember what for"). He's an expert at voices, stealthily examining the world from the inside out and engaging the reader with inventive triangulation, such as the omniscient narrator's sudden mocking of Anton's habit of repeating himself ("Did I ever tell you about, Yes, you did, actually, so shut the fuck up"). This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing. (Apr.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the keenly observant Galgut (Arctic Summer) offers a deeply affecting family saga spanning decades of upheaval in South Africa. The promise referenced by the title, made but never kept, is first overheard in fragments by preteen Amor, youngest daughter of the white Swarts family, when her father vows to Amor's dying mother that he would bequeath a house on their property to their Black maid, Salome. Ten years later, Amor reunites with her vain sister, Astrid, and unpredictable brother, Anton, after their father suffers a fatal snakebite. Amor has not forgotten the promise, and Anton, an army deserter with grandiose plans to write a novel, assures Amor he will follow through after having inherited the house himself. A decade later, tension brews between the siblings as Astrid and Anton resist Amor's calls to legally transfer the property to Salome, who now lives in it. Galgut's astounding prose effortlessly navigates the roiling thoughts of his characters (Astrid, on her boredom: "That's my life, she thinks, miles and miles of brown grass"; Anton, meanwhile, looks "for something... searching and searching, but fucked if he can remember what for"). He's an expert at voices, stealthily examining the world from the inside out and engaging the reader with inventive triangulation, such as the omniscient narrator's sudden mocking of Anton's habit of repeating himself ("Did I ever tell you about, Yes, you did, actually, so shut the fuck up"). This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing. (Apr.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

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