Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trevor's Review of Galgut's In a Strange Room

Since this book wasn't available in the U.S. when the 2010 longlist was announced, I bought it and read it on my iPhone. At the time, it was just an experiment, a way to read a shortish book when no other way was possible. This book is so engrossing, that I didn't even realize I was reading it on a tiny screen. I was quickly taken out of my surroundings and eagerly followed Galgut as he told three linked travel stories focused on a character named Damon.

The three stories are "The Follower," "The Lover," and "The Guardian." In each case, the story is being narrated by an older Damon as he reflects on these three trips he took some ten or twenty years earlier. Because a focus of the book is memory, the older Damon sometimes speaks in the first person as he recalls the events and at othe times, when he seems less sure or more distanced from who he was, he narrates in the third person. This is not as cumbersome as it sounds. Galgut has complete control and the prose is actually clean and spare.

As much as I loved The Finkler Question, this was my pick for the Booker winner.

For my complete review on my blog, click here.


  1. His was also my choice, not from the benefit of having read him before but from the objective of my blog: Promoting African Literature. I told myself, once it has been shortlisted, it stands equal chance of winning as any other book. After all, most people bet on C and Finkler won.

  2. Great review, I remember reading it on your blog when first posted. Thanks for cross-posting here!

  3. I'm so glad you liked this. I just finished FINKLER and plan to read this in a month or so and can't wait.