Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.
A young man takes three journeys, through Greece, India and Africa. He travels lightly, simply. To those who travel with him and those whom he meets on the way - including a handsome, enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers and a woman on the edge - he is the Follower, the Lover and the Guardian. Yet, despite the man's best intentions, each journey ends in disaster. Together, these three journeys will change his whole life.
A novel of longing and thwarted desire, rage and compassion, In a Strange Room is the hauntingly beautiful evocation of one man's search for love, and a place to call home.
Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was 17. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor, and The Impostor. 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.
©2010 Damon Galgut (P)2010 Atlantic Books Ltd
"Superb... With this new book Galgut has struck out in a new direction and taken his writing to a whole other level. It is a quite astonishing work." (William Skidelsky, Observer)
"Truly superlative... Extraordinarily readable... Galgut displays his wonderful sense of place, but also profoundly explores intimate relationships between people... A very beautiful book, strikingly conceived and hauntingly written, a writer's novel par excellence without a clumsy word in it." (Jan Morris, Guardian)
"Galgut is an outstanding writer: his prose is acute, beautiful, unsettling. I have rarely felt so moved whilst reading." (Sarah Hall, The Times)
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Having read (and loved) the book I wondered how well the author would do with the different voices... I shouldn't have worried, he's done a fantastic job and I enjoyed this enormously. One for a long journey. Sit back and enjoy!
"In a strange room, and a dark place"
Having listened to the audio of The Impostor and found it compelling and plot-driven, I had high hopes for this book. It was clear from the beginning that the nature of the tale would be more philosophical, a musing on the nature of travel and identity, but I struggled at times with the third part, where the narrator plays the role of the Guardian. One needs great inner resilience to listen and not to be reminded of other friends lost in a similar way. Clearly this is a true, and haunting tale, but too, too poignant at times.
That having been said, there is so much to praise here: the narration is good, and once again the landscape is vividly described and comes to life before one's eyes.
This book explores the desire, pressure and joys of travel - interfaced with self-exploration and a set of relationships with other travelers, random acquaintances and close friends. Traversing a number of settings in Africa - Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania - and others in India, the reflective author explores friendship, love, loneliness, interfacing with experiences of corruption, power, terror, and anxiety. Nicely written and narrated with some beautifully written passages and insights, at times unsettling. Recommended.
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