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The Promise von Damon Galgut
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The Promise (2021. Auflage)

von Damon Galgut (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen / Diskussionen
3291662,887 (4.09)1 / 58
Titel:The Promise
Autoren:Damon Galgut (Autor)
Info:Europa Editions (2021), 306 pages
Sammlungen:Noch zu lesen


Das Versprechen von Damon Galgut

Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonfememi, nostalgiaqueen, private Bibliothek, tjongejongen, Feathered-Friend, Hemamayigowda, Appi, otori
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I had a problem with the style of writing in this book. Sudden shifts in time place and character, from paragraph to paragraph sometimes made for a very uneven, confusing read. Very uneven writing that was compelling one moment and became a boring slog the next. Like so many Booker Prize winners…disappointing. ( )
  dugmel | Jan 10, 2022 |
The story of a family growing old and dying as South Africa transforms around them. I liked the glimpses into the characters thoughts and lives. In particular the book sometimes follows minor characters in unexpected and exciting ways. A little too experimental and literary for my taste. Would recommend. ( )
  purplewildcat | Jan 8, 2022 |
Het nakomen van de belofte van de vader van Amor aan zijn vrouw om de huishulp het huis te schenken wordt steeds opgeschoven, maar Amor maakt er een erezaak van om de wil van haar moeder te volbrengen ( )
  huizenga | Jan 3, 2022 |
The Promise, Damon Galgut
The book is divided into sections about Ma, Pa, Astrid and Anton, but overlooking all of them is the youngest sibling, Amor. They live on a farm not far from Pretoria, South Africa under the rule of Apartheid. Ma converted to Judaism, to the chagrin of her family. Pa is Christian and now he can no longer be buried near her. As she lay dying, she extracted a promise from Pa to give their black maid, Salome, the house she has lived in for all the years she has worked for the Swarts. It isn’t legal to do so, at that time, but this is what she wants. When the story opens, we are about to witness Ma's funeral.
Although Pa is a devout Christian, he does not keep his promise. Pa eventually dies also, from a snake bite. He went into the cage believing G-d would protect him from the cobra. G-d did not. As the book progresses, the shortcomings of several religions and spiritualities are explored with a subtle intensity, and they are exposed as imperfect.
Amor was struck by lightning when she was six-years-old, and that event unfairly defined her. Afterwards, she was forever thought of as changed and unable to truly take care of herself. Oddly, she may have been the only one who could exist on her own. Eventually, she escaped from the farm and did not look back. She did not return until her father died. Anton, her older brother was bright, but never reached his potential. He was tortured by memories of his time in the army. He had killed a woman and never quite got past the guilt or the shame. After his mother’s funeral, he did not return to the army. He deserted and did not go back home for years, until his father’s death. Amor’s older sister, Astrid, was prone to jealousy and excessive vanity. She relied on her good looks. She was a bigot who looked down on black people. Her view of right and wrong was skewed, as she made excuses for her transgressions and believed that, as a Catholic, confession would clear her conscience and erase her sins so she could err again. She was a convert. She promised to repent, but always broke the promise.
While her siblings looked at the lives of others, dreamed big dreams and thought of the blacks as inferior, Amor sought only to be kind to others and to fulfill her mother’s promise to give Salome the ramshackle home she lived in, but she carried that burden for decades and was betrayed by her father and her brother when they broke their promises. Salome was selfless, not necessarily by choice, but by circumstance. What else could she do? As a black woman, her lot in life was one of hard work and sacrifice with little reward. After Amor told her she was to get her house, she waited patiently at first, and then, she gave up hope. Lukas, was her son. He had dreams of getting an education, but being brought up in South Africa at that time, it was not really a dream he could fulfill. He was an angry man who felt wronged by the Swart family and the whites in the world in which he lived. He wasn’t wrong, but he also made his own situation worse.
As the years pass, we witness Amor in a long term, but not long-lasting relationship, with a woman, Susan. Amor found she needed more; she needed to tend to those less advantaged than she was and wanted little else from life. She was a nurse, and eventually wound up in Cape Town. Anton, on the other hand, married Desiree, his old girlfriend, when he returned to the farm. He watched the farm and his marriage deteriorate, slowly, as if he was a bystander, not a participant. He was unfulfilled and unhappy. He wanted to be successful. He was the one who was supposed to rise to the occasion, instead, he made excuses for his lack of ambition. He drank to excess and pretended to be writing a novel which was never completed. We continue to watch as Astrid, the social climber, always feels put upon, which is justified somewhat as she was the one who remained at home when her siblings ran away. She divorced her first husband. Her second marriage was a financial success, but she found it hard to stay loyal. She strayed from her marriage vows with disastrous consequences. Anton’s wife, Desiree, was similar, in personality, to Astrid, always disappointed that she didn’t’ have more, always wanting something she hadn’t achieved. She becomes involved with a spiritual leader, Muti, a yogi, and they meditate together, and then some. He tries to teach her patience. He has his own failings, though. They are all searching and never seem to quite find themselves, and they remain unfulfilled.
As the storyteller watches and seems to observe unseen, what is seen, is revealed. It is the everyday, ordinary life of the Swarts family as time passes, almost unnoticed by the observer, as it passes almost at random as one sentence follows another. Each sibling in the Swart family was unique in both good and bad ways. Their views on life were colored by the Apartheid experience and the behavior of their parents and relatives. Told in short staccato sentences, that create tension and put the reader in the thick of things, almost absentmindedly, the story unfolds. As it does, the reader is captured completely and the harshness and injustice of the lives of the black people is revealed, as is the disinterest, prejudice, and arrogance of the white people for whom they work.
The book is about sins, guilt, shame, secrets, broken promises, all kinds of infidelity, absolution, forgiveness, contradictions, corruption on every level, and at the very core, racism. In the end, the anger and injustice on one side, creates havoc on the other and South Africa is troubled, even with the new leader, Mandela, finally freed from jail after two decades. When Apartheid ends, all is simply not sweetness and light. Prejudices still remain and with the freedom to voice their own minds, blacks are also prejudiced against whites. Crime and violence soar.
As the book jumps from character to character the threads of the story knit together with the odd conjunction of issues and events. The mundane moments of life become momentous. Contradictions in behavior, attitudes and beliefs, are illustrated throughout the book and often do not resolve themselves peacefully. As the story unfolds further, it feels as if someone is calmly observing all, watching their world go by. There is a ghostlike, supernatural tangent running through the story, as well. The most likeable characters are Salome and Amor; however, Salome is presented as a saint and Amor as somewhat of a fallen angel.
This is an excellent expose of Apartheid and its consequences and a great book for discussion about the contradictions and conundrums we are all faced with from friends, family, media, teachers, laymen and religious leaders. No one is perfect and the imperfections of ordinary people and the society itself, live large in this book alongside the history of racism. ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jan 3, 2022 |
In the opening pages of The Promise, Amor is reeling from her mother’s death. She had been ill for some time, but that doesn’t make it any easier for Amor to process what has happened and deal with the crush of family and ritual that follows. She does, however, remember a promise her mother demanded from her father before she died: that he provide their long-time maid, Salome, with the deed to her house. But in 1986, property ownership was a “privilege” not available to black South Africans.

After their mother’s death, Amor and her siblings Astrid and Anton all struggle, in their own ways, to become fully actualized adults. Astrid suffers from bulimia and low self-esteem. Anton is traumatized by his military service. Amor is seemingly the most stable of the three, but achieves that only by putting significant distance between herself and her siblings. Over the years, death repeatedly brings the siblings back to their childhood home. Amor keeps reminding them of their father’s promise and refuting their denials. But even in post-apartheid South Africa, meaningful change remains elusive.

This novel, winner of the 2021 Booker Prize, was an interesting study of sibling relationships set against the background of South Africa’s political landscape. ( )
  lauralkeet | Dec 29, 2021 |
Damon Galgut’s stunning new novel charts the decline of a white family during South Africa’s transition out of apartheid. It begins in 1986, with the death of Rachel, a 40-year-old Jewish mother of three on a smallholding outside Pretoria. The drama of the novel turns on a promise that her Afrikaner husband, Manie, made to her before she died, overheard by their youngest daughter, Amor: that Manie would give their black maid, Salome, the deeds to the annexe she occupies. Now that Rachel is dead, Manie has apparently forgotten and doesn’t care to be reminded. Nor does his bigoted family, who regard Amor’s stubborn insistence that Salome should own her home as the kind of talk that “now appears to have infected the whole country”.
hinzugefügt von kidzdoc | bearbeitenThe Guardian, Anthony Cummins (Jun 8, 2021)
For three decades the South African writer Damon Galgut has been assessing his country through scrutiny of its white people. His prior novels include the Booker Prize finalist “The Good Doctor,” set at a clinic in one of apartheid’s forlorn “homelands,” and “The Impostor,” an account of a poet self-exiled to the lonely countryside. Galgut’s new work, “The Promise,” studies the Swart family, descendants of Voortrekker settlers, clinging to their farm amid tumultuous social and political change — “just an ordinary bunch of white South Africans,” he writes, “holding on, holding out.” Beginning in 1986, the novel moves toward the present, following Ma, Pa and the alliterative trio of Swart children: Anton, a military deserter and failed novelist; Astrid, a narcissistic housewife; and Amor, an introspective loner who eventually becomes a nurse.
In scope, seriousness, and experimental ambition, modernist writing like {Virginia} Woolf’s sometimes appears to have expired along with its serious and experimental epoch, a moment when political and moral disenchantment was met by a belief in literature’s regenerative power. Yet Damon Galgut’s remarkable new novel, “The Promise” (Europa), suggests that the demands of history and the answering cry of the novel can still powerfully converge. As a white South African writer, Galgut inherits a subject that must feel, at different times, liberating in its dimensions and imprisoning in its inescapability. (J. M. Coetzee once argued that South African literature is a “literature in bondage,” because a “deformed and stunted” society produces a deformed and stunted inner life.) “The Promise” is drenched in South African history, a tide that can be seen, in the end, to poison all “promise.” The book moves from the dying days of apartheid, in the eighties, to the disappointment of Jacob Zuma’s Presidency of the past decade, and the tale is told as the fable of a family curse: first the mother dies, then the father, then one of their daughters, then their only son.
hinzugefügt von kidzdoc | bearbeitenThe New Yorker, James Wood (Apr 12, 2021)

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (2 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Damon GalgutHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Noble, PeterErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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The moment the metal box speaks her name, Amor knows it's happened.
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