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The Promise (2021)

por Damon Galgut

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1,0685519,038 (3.99)1 / 130
Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa; Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life's unfulfilled promises; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt. Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country - an atmosphere of resentment, renewal, and - ultimately - hope. The Promise is an epic drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of national history, sure to please current fans and attract many new ones.… (mais)
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Inglês (43)  Holandês (6)  Espanhol (2)  Catalão (1)  Dinamarquês (1)  Francês (1)  Todas as línguas (54)
Mostrando 1-5 de 54 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This novel took my breath away in so many ways. The promise in the title is presumably the promise of house to Salome, made by the mother on her deathbed. Salome had worked for the family for years and continued to do so as the decades pass and the promise is not fulfilled. But it is also the promise of South Africa, as it shakes off aparteid and has so much promise as a democratic country. In the final chapters we see corruption, crime and power and water outages from its crumbling infrastructure. It is also the promise of the characters. Anton had so many plans and struggles to get beyond drinking. Lukas, Salome's son also had promise that isn't fulfilled. Different female characters become beautiful to the whispering narrator eyes at different times and this suggests promise that then disappears in weight gain and tiredness from working and caring. The family business, a snake and reptile park, and the land, is also full of promise and this shrivels away. There is plenty of sadness in the novel but it doesn't feel a bleak novel and I didn't weep over any of the characters. At the end I was left with a sense of joy and moving on. ( )
  CarolKub | Dec 21, 2023 |
Here is novel that is heartbreaking without being depressing. The writing weaves the characters’ lives together, tangles and untangles. As a reader, you cannot really tell how this was done, can’t see the seams. I like that in a book. I liked Damon Galgut’s omniscient narrator, who also influences the book’s reality when the occasion calls for it. The narrator is detached, sarcastic, and merciless (understandably) towards the characters, yet never misanthropic. ( )
  Alexandra_book_life | Dec 15, 2023 |
Interesting family story, set sporadically across a few historic decades in South Africa, starting at the tail end of the apartheid era.


SPOILERS
My main gripe is that the main character is soooo passive. Every other character is more interesting, and her total inactivity over 30 years to have the promise fulfilled totally undermines her sanctimony toward her family. Could have knocked down to 3 for that annoyance, but, well, it's closer to 4*.
( )
  thisisstephenbetts | Nov 25, 2023 |
What an extraordinary novel. Using the story of a disfunctional Africaner family, Galgut traces the history of South Africa from apartheid to full democracy. The story opens with the death of Rachel, mother of three, and a promise she has extracted from her husband that her youngest, Amor, age 13, is witness to. Each decade, this promise is raised at the funeral of one of the family, coincident with major events in the country itself. At the end, we are left to realize that time has destroyed the value of the promise, the family, and in some ways, the dream of South Africa. Each member of the family is in a way contaminated by the promise, apartheid and the subsequent changes.

Galgut uses what we might call an omniscient narrator, but the voice is very close to us, practically whispering the stories in our ears. Each family member's history, character and trauma is revealed through an ironic South African Afrikaner lens. The writing is wonderful, lush, pointed - it brings you in close to this story and situation.
This novel certainly deserves its Booker award. ( )
  ffortsa | Nov 8, 2023 |
Galgut’s 2221 Booker prize winning masterpiece, “The Promise” is truly a masterpiece. I’ve been a fan of Gulgut for many years but t his latest took my breath away. The mastery of his words expose the harsh reality of post-apartheid South Africa in a strangely lyrical novel about three generations of an Afrikaner family.  ( )
  kjuliff | Nov 6, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 54 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
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”.
adicionada por kidzdoc | editarThe 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.
adicionada por kidzdoc | editarThe New Yorker, James Wood (Apr 12, 2021)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (9 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Galgut, Damonautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Filipetto, CeliaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Noble, PeterNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Veer, Rob van derTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa; Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life's unfulfilled promises; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt. Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country - an atmosphere of resentment, renewal, and - ultimately - hope. The Promise is an epic drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of national history, sure to please current fans and attract many new ones.

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