In A Strange Room

In A Strange Room

Three Journeys

Book - 2010
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A lone traveler journeys across Europe, India, and eastern Africa, following the paths of the people he meets along the way.
Publisher: New York : Europa Editions, 2010
ISBN: 9781609450113
Branch Call Number: x
Characteristics: 207 p. ; 22 cm


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Damon Galgut is a playwright and novelist living in Cape Town. "In a Strange Room" was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for fiction.

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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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