A finalist for the 2010 Man Booker Prize
In this newest novel from South African writer Damon Galgut, a young loner travels across eastern Africa, Europe, and India. Unsure what he's after, and reluctant to return home, he follows the paths of travelers he meets along the way. Treated as a lover, a follower, a guardian, each new encounter—with an enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers, a woman on the verge—leads him closer to confronting his own identity. Traversing the quiet of wilderness and the frenzy of border crossings, every new direction is tinged with surmounting mourning, as he is propelled toward a tragic conclusion.
In a Strange Room is a brilliant, stylish novel of anger and compassion, longing and thwarted desire, and a hauntingly beautiful evocation of life on the road. First published in The Paris Review in three parts, one of which was selected for a National Magazine Award and another for the O. Henry Prize, In a Strange Room was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.
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Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963, and now lives in Cape Town. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was seventeen. His books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor, The Impostor, and In A Strange Room. His novels have twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (The Good Doctor; In A Strange Room), and The Impostor was shortlisted for the Dublin/IMPAC Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, which Galgut also won with The Good Doctor.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. There's a lot of travel in Booker Prize finalist Galgut's (The Good Doctor) new novel, but he's more interested in depicting the randomness, heightened sensitivity, dread, and possibility that come from unfamiliar places than in seeing the sights. A South African man travels in Greece, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, and India, forming the complicated, tenuous relationships that provide the book's three sections titles (Follower; Lover; Guardian). This character, who bears the author's name and seems to share his history, is both "he" and "I." Though these shifts can occur in the space of a sentence, they're surprisingly easy to accept, and attentive readers will get a subtle, frank depiction of some of the problems of writing; "he" seems to be Galgut, but often experiences himself as divided, uncertain, and blurry as a fictional character evading his creator, "I" often steps in to remind us of the limits of memory and the artificiality of genre distinctions. At its best Galgut's tale has the feel of arriving in a destination you'd never planned to go. It's not always pleasant, but it's strangely fascinating.
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