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Damon Galgut's The Promise Has Won The Booker Prize

The South African author had been shortlisted twice before.

the promise by damon galgut, winner of the booker prize 2021

A few weeks ago, six authors were shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize. Since then, Damon Galgut has emerged as the winner of the £50,000 prize for his novel about a family living in post-apartheid South Africa. The Promise was lauded by the prize judges as "a spectacular demonstration of how the novel can make us see and think afresh."

The judges also praised Galgut's "unusual narrative style" in The Promise. In an interview with The Guardian, Galgut explained that a job he took writing a film script made him realize “that the narrator could behave like a camera, moving in close and then suddenly pulling far back, jumping from one character to another in the middle of a scene, or even a sentence, or following some side-line of action that has nothing to do with plot."

This was not the first time Galgut had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize—he had done so twice before, in 2003 for The Good Doctor and 2010 for In a Strange Room. However, he doesn't enjoy the attention that comes with being shortlisted—as he told The Guardian in an earlier interview about The Promise, "both shortlistings probably shaved a few years off my life."

Damon Galgut Books

the promise by damon galgut, winner of the booker prize 2021

The Promise

By Damon Galgut

“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

The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor

By Damon Galgut

“A lovely, lethal, disturbing novel” of the dashed hopes of post-apartheid South Africa and the small betrayals that doom a friendship (The Guardian).

“Galgut’s prose, its gentle rhythms and straightforward sentences edging toward revelation, is utterly seductive and suspenseful . . . Galgut is a master of psychological tension. . . . Tragic and brilliant.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

In a Strange Room

In a Strange Room

By Damon Galgut

A Man Booker Prize finalist: “This tale of ill-fated journeys through Greece, Africa and India shows” the author of The Quarry “at a superb new high” (The Guardian).

In a Strange Room is a hauntingly beautiful evocation of life on the road. It was first published in the Paris Review in three parts—“The Follower,” “The Lover,” and “The Guardian”—one of which was selected for a National Magazine Award and another for the O. Henry Prize.

The Quarry

The Quarry

By Damon Galgut

“[A] spare, intense story of rural South Africa . . . His clear, elemental prose is never generic” (Booklist).

The Quarry has the same dry, feral quality as Damon Galgut’s best-known novel, The Good Doctor. . . . The issues of guilt, injustice and redemption give the novel a biblical feel. The writing shines in its peripheral vision, in the backdrops and corners of its scenes.” —Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

The Impostor

The Impostor

By Damon Galgut

An “unsettling and engaging” novel about contemporary South Africa (The Telegraph).

“An antipastoral, post-apartheid noir” (Publishers Weekly) by “a worthy heir to Gordimer and Coetzee,” The Imposter evokes a glittering world of the moneyed old guard, newly empowered black Africans, and the betrayal and obsessions hiding in the shadows of the new South African dream (The Guardian, UK).

Arctic Summer

Arctic Summer

By Damon Galgut

This “beautifully written and utterly compelling” novel by the acclaimed South African author traces E. M. Forester’s journey of self-discovery (The Times, London).

“Galgut inhabits [Forster] with such sympathetic completeness, and in prose of such modest excellence that he starts to breathe on the page.” —Financial Times

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