Star rating – 6/10
Having enjoyed Damon Galgut’s last novel, ‘The Imposter’ very much, I was very much looking forward to reading this one. It is not really a novel, more like three novellas joined up loosely into one book, which in my book is a short story collection. I have to admit here that I don’t like short stories, to me they usually feel unsatisfactory and artificially brief. I feel short changed. So did I feel short changed by this book? Well, yes and no is the honest answer.
The three experiences narrated here are very different, and Galgut uses his talent as a writer to transport the reader to different places and different emotions very skilfully. It takes a little while to work out who is telling the stories as he slips from first to third person quite readily, but once this is clear it is easy to go where Galgut is taking you.
The first journey ‘The Follower’ took place when he was a young man travelling in
The second is called ‘The Lover’ and there is also sexual tension, and unconsummated love with a young man the narrator meets whilst travelling through
The final novella, ‘The Guardian’ is the most depressing as he is now taking care of his dear friend Anna who is depressed and suicidal. He decides that a trip through
Galgut is a great writer. His prose is tight. His evocation of place and emotion is skilful. So maybe it was the short story like formation that meant that this didn’t quite gel for me as it should have done. I will read more of Galgut, but will stick to his meatier volumes in future.