In A Strange Room

In A Strange Room

Three Journeys

Book - 2010
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A young man named Damon takes three journeys, through Greece, India, and Africa. To those who travel with him and to those whom he meets on the way - including a handsome enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers, and a woman on the edge - he is the Follower, the Lover, and the Guardian. Yet, despite the man's best intentions, each journey ends in disaster. These short stories demonstrate the hauntingly beautiful evocation of one man's search for love and a place to call home
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2010.
ISBN: 9780771035968
0771035969
Characteristics: 180 p. ; 21 cm.

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debwalker Jan 04, 2011

Chosen by Karen Solie as book of the year: "Galgut's novel is a fiction that reads as, at least, heavily influenced by autobiography. The protagonist is called Damon. He is South African. It's written in a point of view that shifts between the third and first person, sometimes in the same sentence. But rather than coming off as gimmicky or prodding the reader with a concept, this strategy feels eerily faithful to the act of remembering the self. I was a different person then, we say. And also: It's like it was yesterday. It's like it's happening all over again.

"In A Strange Room addresses a preoccupation I share: with travel minus agenda, sometimes spontaneous, often ill-conceived (though the travel of the novel is ambitious and accomplished largely on foot), and how inside it is the recognition that, though it feels like need, such travel is a luxury, an indulgence which might be medicating a poverty of spirit. The novel's three sections are different journeys through thinking as well as geography. They are also lessons in narrative momentum. Galgut's sentences are active, declarative, each a step forward, relentless as time, each paragraph a scene in transit, their clarity and richness enacting an attention paid to the world in its passing, in our passing through it; to those faces, scenes, the ideas that stick, that shine out of memory and become indicative, symbolic. He is one of those writers whose humour emerges in a habit of creating syntax, turns of phrase, sentences that are almost absurdly accurate to what they describe. Like the other books I might have chosen, its willingness to take some risks (did I mention it's written in the present tense?) puts me in mind of lines from Robert Hass's poem Berkely Eclogue: “You'll never catch a fish/ that way, you said. One caught a fish that way.” "

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