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Splintered light

The novel tells of the white South African Swart family that owns a farm on the edges of Pretoria, a rambling place of haphazard design

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BS Opinion | Literature

Radhika Oberoi 



Radhika Oberoi

Even though Damon Galgut’s The Promise has won the Booker Prize this year, it is easy to be dismissive of the novel. Readers, and in particular those with MFA degrees in creative writing, might be forgiven for pulling it apart. The Promise would never survive the scrutiny — the collective glare of fault-finding irises — of a writers’ workshop. Eloquent horror would be expressed at its narrative style, its hasty shifts in points-of-view, its unpunctuated dialogue, (“whither inverted commas, question marks?”), its tendency to rely on metaphors and similes. Participant writers, their own talents on the verge of an uncertain budding, would quibble over whether Mr Galgut’s fluid prose is attempting to be Joycean or Woolfian, but fails to be either, thereby failing to fully realise its artistic intent.

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First Published: Fri, December 03 2021. 23:36 IST

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