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The Promise

Damon Galgut     Recommended by    

WINNER OF THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE 

A masterpiece of a family in crisis from twice-Booker-shortlisted author Damon Galgut: ‘one of the world’s great writers,’ (Edmund White) and ‘the bold, fresh voice of South African fiction,’ (Observer)

‘Astonishing,’ Colm Tóibín

Discover the powerful prizewinning story of a family in crisis.

The Promise charts the crash and burn of a white South African family, living on a farm outside Pretoria. The Swarts are gathering for Ma’s funeral. The younger generation, Anton and Amor, detest everything the family stand for — not least the failed promise to the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. After years of service, Salome was promised her own house, her own land… yet somehow, as each decade passes, that promise remains unfulfilled.

The narrator’s eye shifts and blinks: moving fluidly between characters, flying into their dreams; deliciously lethal in its observation. And as the country moves from old deep divisions to its new so-called fairer society, the lost promise of more than just one family hovers behind the novel’s title.

In this story of a diminished family, sharp and tender emotional truths hit home. Confident, deft and quietly powerful, The Promise is literary fiction at its finest.

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