“A masterpiece – one of the best books I have read in the past decade… A moving, brilliantly told family epic.”


Just finished The Promise by Damon Galgut. Audio version. This book was the winner of this years Booker Prize for fiction.
The Swart family lives in South Africa and as the book begins, apartheid still rules over the land.
The family consists of a husband and wife, a son and two daughters. The substance of this story is a verbal promise has been made to a black employee about inheriting some land when the mother passes away. This book takes you over four funerals, where the promise is debated and continually denied by the efdest remaining inheritor.

The impressive thing about the book is the fact that the promise is always there, but while your reading the book it almost becomes an afterthought.
The other incidents in the family’s lives always take front and center, and the book in this way captures some of the plight of the blacks in their own homeland being treated as second class citizens by a ruling minority. You can analyze the book along the way, but if it wasn’t titled The Promise, you might be hard pressed into deciding what is the main point of the book.
This book is not big on plot, but it is a superb representation of what excellent writing can do to make its point without drumming it through your head.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 20th January 2022

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Richard Franco