Damon Galgut

The Promise

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★ “Galgut extends his extraordinary corpus with a rich story of family, history, and grief.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

★ “This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“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

“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 is the most important book of the last ten years.”—Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and A Saint from Texas

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

“Both tender and brutal, The Promise brilliantly illuminates how both a small family and a large world endure—or don't endure. I will remember this beautifully devastating book, its enigmatic heroine, for a long time.”—Peter Cameron, author of What Happens at Night

“Galgut understands the complexities of the human heart which he reveals with the finest delicacy. This is an emotionally powerful and thrilling novel that haunts one long after it has been laid down.” —Gabriel Byrne, author of Walking With Ghosts and Pictures in My Head

“If possible, The Promise packs yet more of a punch than Galgut’s previous novels. Fuelled by sex and death, this is a South African Götterdämmerung charting a white family’s inexorable decline from significance and power. Its indignation at its morally bankrupt central characters is leavened with languid comedy, as though Galgut had collaborated with Tennessee Williams. The effect is utterly compelling.”—Patrick Gale, author of Notes from an Exhibition and A Place Called Winter

“If there is a posterity, 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

Praise for Damon Galgut

“Written in spare, controlled prose, Damon Galgut’s writing has a powerful cumulative effect that is on one level hard and comfortless, yet somehow also tender and humane.”—The New York Times on In a Strange Room

“It's no wonder that the South African novelist Damon Galgut has won a place on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize…a gripping read, laced throughout with powerful emotional truth and Damon Galgut’s extraordinary vision.”—The Independent on In a Strange Room

“Galgut spares no details and his prose, suspended between horror and comedy, is almost unbearably powerful.”—The Guardian on In a Strange Room

“In spare, declarative prose, Galgut spins a brisk and bracing story.”—The New Yorker on The Good Doctor

“Like Graham Greene’s work, this quiet, affecting novel will attract those haunted by the shadow of colonialism.”—Publishers Weekly on The Good Doctor
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281 printed pages
Original publication



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