The winner of the 2021 Booker Prize and a New York Times Editors’ Choice, The Promise by novelist and playwright Damon Galgut (The Good Doctor, In a Strange Room) is an epic South African drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of history, sure to leave its readers transformed. A family, reunited by four funerals over thirty years, remains haunted by an unmet promise, just as their country is haunted by its own failures. Author Colm Tóibín (The Magician) joined Galgut for a conversation on this searing story of family, history, grief, white privilege, and institutional racism.
Photos by Kelsie Lynn Bennett
By Damon Galgut
Published by Europa Editions
Also available in hardcover.
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 potential; 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—one 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.
Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria. His 2003 novel The Good Doctor won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In a Strange Room (Europa Editions, 2010) was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Galgut was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2013. In 2021, Galgut won the Booker Prize for The Promise. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including The Magician, his most recent novel; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections and several books of criticism. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.