In a Strange Room

A finalist for the 2010 Man Booker PrizeIn this newest novel from South African writer Damon Galgut, a young loner travels across eastern Africa, Europe, and India Unsure what he s after, and reluctant to return home, he follows the paths of travelers he meets along the way Treated as a lover, a follower, a guardian, each new encounter with an enigmatic stranger, a groupA finalist for the 2010 Man Booker PrizeIn this newest novel from South African writer Damon Galgut, a young loner travels across eastern Africa, Europe, and India Unsure what he s after, and reluctant to return home, he follows the paths of travelers he meets along the way Treated as a lover, a follower, a guardian, each new encounter with an enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers, a woman on the verge leads him closer to confronting his own identity Traversing the quiet of wilderness and the frenzy of border crossings, every new direction is tinged with surmounting mourning, as he is propelled toward a tragic conclusion.In a Strange Room is a brilliant, stylish novel of anger and compassion, longing and thwarted desire, and a hauntingly beautiful evocation of life on the road First published in The Paris Review in three parts, one of which was selected for a National Magazine Award, and another for the O Henry Prize, In a Strange Room was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.
In a Strange Room A finalist for the Man Booker PrizeIn this newest novel from South African writer Damon Galgut a young loner travels across eastern Africa Europe and India Unsure what he s after and reluctan

  • Title: In a Strange Room
  • Author: Damon Galgut
  • ISBN: 9781609450113
  • Page: 403
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “In a Strange Room”

    1. 5 "existential, melancholy, profound" stars !! This is the perfect night to write this review. Gloomy, rainy and cold as I walked the neighborhood earlier while listening to Nick Cave. I read this book over our recent vacation late at night on our balcony while watching the moon overlook the Mediterranean Sea. This book is my first read by South African Writer Damon Galgut.This book was shortlisted for both the Booker and Ondaatje literary prizes in 2010. I got goosebumps reading these three sho [...]

    2. THE STRANGER INSIDE ME I libri sono viaggi (ma perché solo i libri, non lo è l’Arte in genere?) e questo romanzo di Galgut, composto da tre racconti lunghi usciti sulla Paris Review con lo stesso protagonista in tre fasi diverse della vita, è in apparenza un libro di viaggio: tre continenti, Africa (in lungo e in largo, Sudafrica, Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Marocco…), Europa (Grecia, Svizzera, Londra, Parigi…), Asia (India).André Thijssen.Ma non è un libro che appartenga all [...]

    3. Things happen once only and are never repeated, never return. Except in memory.A young South-African man travels through Greece, Africa and India. Three journeys, three continents, different people intersecting his life. The journeys take place years apart, with him as the only connecting thread. In the three stories he is alternately a follower, a lover and a guardian, and we hear the stories from the man he would become, who is looking at him years hence, reliving the three journeys from a dis [...]

    4. Unobtrusive words, nothing fancy or overworked, no backflips or showiness. The effect however is heart wrenching. Damon Galgut surgically cuts to the vital. And leaves you gasping for air. There was some discussion when this book made the Booker shortlist in 2010. Is it a novel? Not in any conventional sense, no. Three accounts of journeys undertaken by a character called Damon, referred to in the third person mostly. Galgut is ready to admit that this is indeed himself, and that the events depi [...]

    5. I'm weary of dreary.I know it's an act of book reviewing apostasy, but I've had it with the exquisitely crafted sighs of depressed men. And that's not just the eggnog talking. Honestly, how many times do we have to praise the stark story of a wandering, alienated man that Hemingway perfected in "The Sun Also Rises" way back in 1926?Every year adds two or three "haunting masterpieces" to this respected subgenre. This year's top entries included Joshua Ferris's grave "The Unnamed," Dinaw Mengestu' [...]

    6. I don't know if it's something in me or something in the book that makes me think of its title as "In a Dark Room," which is not like me at all, as I'm a stickler for exact titles. There is much darkness here, but the work is focused on the 'strange' (not familiar) 'rooms' (not literal) the writer/character finds himself in as he travels excessively and obsessively, it sometimes seems.This is a hybrid sort of book. It's listed as fiction, but the author names his character Damon and uses both 'I [...]

    7. There are certain writers one discovers, whose works one reads, consumes, as if they were writing directly to you, for you. Damon Galgut is such an author for me. This is the fourth novel (a trio of novellas, actually) I've read by him, and it's the most intensely personal, and (perhaps along with 'The Good Doctor,') the most beautiful and harrowing.You can find other reviews to tell you plot, etc. I'll say simply that Galgut is one of the most authentic and significant novelists writing today. [...]

    8. How do you sit down and write a review for a book that deep down you know not just speaks for you but in its own strange way represents you ? Yes! represents you, or whatever that is you. You don't, you can't. You sit and close your eyes and let all the thoughts the book evoked within you turn inside your head, one after another like waves crashing on the shore. Some day when the stirring has settled, I will write. I know I will.For now, all I can say is just that this book has been written make [...]

    9. I read this while travelling and the unfamiliar surroundings, the new vistas, the waking up in a strange room added an extra dimension to this already challenging reading experience. Galgut steps outside the conventions. Not for him the adherence to a plot or the limiting of himself to details related to that plot. He writes life as she is lived. The three interlinked accounts in this novel seem as aimless as the journeys undertaken by the main character, who is mostly referred to simply as 'he' [...]

    10. The Space Between the LinesOpen any page of Galgut's 2010 novel, and you will see that, instead of being set close together as is the usual practice, there is a full line of white space between paragraphs, giving a curiously open look to the page. And where the page consists mostly of dialogue, without even quotation marks or the "he said, she said" indicators, the effect is both striking and curiously unsettling, as though there is nothing to root the book in reality or link its parts together. [...]

    11. This is a novel that's really made up of three disconcerting novellas. The stories are not dependent on each other but they are very consistent and stubborn in theme: Isolation, chance encounters and the inability to strike meaningful, lasting relationships, pointless journeys that resolve nothing, of being out of place. The prose is wonderful: Elegant, tight and minimalist. There's nothing awkward or ungainly to be found here. It reminds me a lot of Coetzee at his best. Throughout the novel Gal [...]

    12. Damon Gadget’s In a Strange Room is a lush, hypnotic novel that explores longing and desire through the prism of travel.Divided into three seemingly unrelated parts — The Follower, The Lover and The Guardian — it merges in the reader’s mind to form a seamless whole.If you’ve ever gone travelling/backpacking, felt alienated or not known what you want from life, it will resonate.To read my review in full, please visit my blog.

    13. ‘Was I completely mad? How could I have thought to buy a book just like that – in such a frivilous, impetuous way – without checking to see that at least thirty of my friends had given it the thumbs up?’ alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres

    14. Emotionally stunted South African male travels the world and has frustrating, horrible and pointless experiences. Pretty much a waste of 180 pages of perfectly good paper.

    15. This is a beautiful book and Damon Galgut is a brave, committed writer. Committed? It takes commitment to lay yourself bare, without self-pity, without shame, without apology. Nothing is wasted here; there is no wallowing. Perhaps owing to the simple innovation of the form (a trilogy - or better, tryptich - of short novellas, each recounting a journey), there is little need for scene-setting or back-story. Galgut's alter-ego/protagonist exists only when he's traveling, never sinking into routine [...]

    16. The title is from William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying: “In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were.” That tile is not a coincidence, because in profound ways, parts of the narrator feel as if they’re gasping for air. Damon Galgut’s hauntingly conceived and elegantly written book is about the fluidity of identity. In three interw [...]

    17. Dit boek stond op de shortlist voor de Booker Prize, maar heeft niet gewonnen. Volgens mij onterecht, want het is een van die boeken die zo’n impact heeft dat je er nog dagen van bij moet komen. En dat gebeurt alleen als je echt geraakt wordt. Als de gebeurtenissen, de menselijke interactie of gebrek daaraan, je pijnlijk bekend voorkomen. Het boek beschrijft drie reizen van de hoofdpersoon, een jonge Zuidafrikaan, die Damon heet. Of de verhalen autobiografisch zijn, kan niet met zekerheid vast [...]

    18. "Travel makes one a stranger" this African proverb may well apply to Damon Galgut's protagonist in his 2010 novel, In a Strange Room. "Too much travelling and placelessness have put him outside everything" the protagonist admits. Later, he muses, he is not "a traveller by nature, it is a state that has been forced on him by circumstance He is only passing through." But is he really only "passing through"? Galgut's central character, also named Damon, travels widely and extensively: First, we mee [...]

    19. I read New Finnish Grammar followed by The Names and they were connected by being about language and words. Then I read this and it links with The Names by being about travel. I can feel a new game coming on! In fact, this book, which is actually three short stories set in three different parts of the world, contains some wonderful travel writing: it is worth reading just for the way it evokes a sense of place.But it is also worth reading for so many more reasons. Firstly, the writing is wonderf [...]

    20. Part travelogue, part psychologically deconstructive journey, In A Strange Room kept me at arm’s length for almost the entirety of its 180 pages. Structured as three mid-length stories strung together loosely as a novella, the most pressing thought I’m left with is that the book lacked focus—both on a macro and micro level, as none of the tales, independent of the whole, came together with any level of clarity beyond the objective curiosity they first inspire.The three sections—“The Fo [...]

    21. Germaine Greer on a review programme that was looking at the Booker short listed novels complained that in this book there is little about the countries visited, even though it is a kind of travel book, more about the state of the mind of its main protagonist, a figure that slips from third person to first, sometimes in the course of a sentence, and is called 'Damon'. What struck her is its solipsism. She has a point. Often it is the gaps between destinations, the ennui of this type of travel (A [...]

    22. Imagine finding yourself on a journey, on foot, through a notparticularly captivating landscape, and with a taciturn, mildlyrepulsive companion.That would describe approximately the first third of South Africanwriter Damon Galgut’s In A Strange Room, a novel about a man who takesjourneys, on foot, through not particularly captivating landscapes.Fortunately, the novel improves as you keep at it, illustrating thatgreat virtue of the hiker, stamina.Our protagonist is a South African named Damon, [...]

    23. Damon, the narrator of Damon Galgut's beautiful yet spare In a Strange Room, can't seem to settle down. Every time he finds himself settling into a place, he is struck by the somewhat inexplicable need to roam. Perhaps this quote says it best: "There is a moment when any real journey begins. Sometimes it happens as you leave your house, sometimes it's a long way from home." The book follows Damon on three separate journies, which are three separate chapters. In the first, he meets up with German [...]

    24. Lack of Imagination, which Turns Fiction into ReportingThis is not a novel. I am amazed and depressed that this made it onto the Man Booker list.Novels are supposed to be acts of imagination. This is barely papered-over reportage. There are entire pages that seem to exist simply because the author couldn't think of anything except what actually happened. (For example, the revelation, in the second story, that tourists profit from poverty.) The stories parade fragmentation and apparent disorder a [...]

    25. I'm really losing my hope on Man Booker books, especially of the year 2010. One more disappointment was this one, the most boring book I've read about travelling.Frankly, Mr. Galgut thinks we would feel sorry about his main character Damon and his travelling experiences. I can't even say adventures. But I really despise characters, especially male characters who feel depressed and not connected to this world for no apparent reason. They don't make me feel pity, they make me feel anger. All I wan [...]

    26. This is an amazing book. The words are poetry. The sentences are magic carpets of words that take the reader from one thought to the nextny times leaving disturbing feelings and images behind. This is what I call “raw” writing. From the heart, with emotion, with great sensitivity. I read this book ever so slowly so that I could savour every moment I spent within the pages. I love the way Damon Galgut writes. I love the way he makes me think as I’m reading. Hauntingunsettlingunforgettablegl [...]

    27. I got a copy of In A Strange Room today and I read it in several hours after work; just hooked me from the first several pages and the first two stories were fabulous - both are mostly African travelogues, one is backpacking with a friend encountered in Greece, but the story is stranger than you think; the second is hopping between several groups of people and as opposed to the very intimate first story (not in a romantic or sexual way though), it is a story with lots of character snippetsThe la [...]

    28. A quiet whirlwind regarding traveling, the inability to communication, lost opportunities, foreign lands. The fact that we can never live up to the names people give to us. Mood writing.

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