Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"The Impostor" Damon Galgut

Damon Galgut’s “The Impostor” is a story of loneliness and alienation; of depression and despair. It is a story about trying to do the right thing; about trying to reach justice, yet not being able to quite stretch your fingers quite far enough.

“The Impostor” is the story of Adam, who moves into an abandoned home owned by his brother in a desolate, forgotten town after he loses both his job and his home in the city. Adam had always fancied himself a poet, and he sees his recent losses, and the offer of rent-free living, as a way for him to reconnect with his long-forgotten poetry. Adam moves into the house, thick with sand and grime, and waits for the poetry to come to him, but his pages remain blank. He ventures into the small town and happens to meet up with Canning, an old school friend. The problem? Adam doesn’t remember Canning at all, yet Canning seems to view him as some kind of hero from the past. Without even meaning to, Adam becomes involved in Canning’s life, meeting and longing for his wife, Baby, and becoming his confidante in times of uncertain change.

Galgut’s book is written so deliberately, so lyrically that I, as the reader, literally felt like the impostor while reading his novel. His words are chosen in a way to make you feel lonely, desperate, isolated right alongside Adam. You are not just reading about isolation, you are isolation. From page 197: “A tiny sound, slowly encroaching. He can’t place it, can’t work it out. A faintly rushing noise, like wind or blood. An angel, dragging huge wings on the ground”. As I read the book, I literally felt like I was in a desert with a black rain cloud hovering around my head.

I liked the book, yet I didn’t. His words are beautiful, lyrical, meaningful, carefully chosen. That in itself makes the book a work of art. However, the subject matter was so depressing that at times, I simply didn’t like the book because it made me feel so anguished. That’s only my personal opinion, though, because I do tend to gravitate towards lighter subject material when choosing books. In reality, the fact that I felt like this is a mark of how talented Galgut is. It has been a long time since I’ve read something of this calibre, and this is a must read for anyone who appreciates true literary talent.

You can check this book out here. A BIG thank-you to Mini Book Expo for feeding my book addiction!

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