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.
Pageturners discussion was about the main characters – Pa, Amor, Anton, Astrid and Salome as well as the structure of the book, the writing, corruption, land ownership, religion, Apartheid and dark humour. Comments included: “what a dysfunctional family, some narrow character viewpoints, it is four funerals and a farm, really really enjoyed it, loved the use of language, found it extremely annoying, lack of punctuation, the symbolism was obvious, wasn’t saying anything new, lacked details on some incidents and characters, there were no quotations marks, I didn’t know who was speaking at times, it is not a conventional writing style, I found it clever, it was the story of Apartheid, the promise was a curse, just incredible writing, I haven’t read anything like it, really enjoyed it, just so emotional, has captured the times, there was so much complexity, I’m still thinking about it.”
Pagerturners rated the book 2.5 to 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Promise by Damon Galgut Reviews:
Sydney Writers Festival Live & Local Event
Join us for this event The Limits of the Imagination on Saturday 21 May, 4-5pm at Orange Regional Gallery for the free Sydney Writers Festival Live & Local event.
Damon Galgut (The Promise), Larissa Behrendt (After Story) and Paige Clark (She is Haunted). Join host Sisonke Msimang to explore the responsibilities and opportunities of the creative writer and artist, and ask: who gets to tell a story? Please book your place or call Orange City Library on 6393 8132.
Justin will be touring Central West Libraries in June. He will be speaking at Orange City Library on Tuesday 21st June 5.30pm – 7pm.
And some Booker Prize reading for you: