The Impostor

Damon Galgut, Author . Grove/Black Cat $14 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8021-7053-8

In this bleak and thrilling novel, the fifth from Booker Prize–nominee Galgut, the author creates an antipastoral, postapartheid noir that centers around Adam Napier, a depressed poet who retreats to a rural South African town to write. Rather than write, Adam drinks and wallows in depression. The story accelerates once he meets Canning, a former schoolmate who regards Adam as a personal hero even though Adam cannot remember him. As it turns out, Canning is a wealthy businessman with a vendetta against his dead father: he plans to transform an idyllic game preserve his father owned into a golf course. While Canning facilitates business between corrupt politicians and shady businessmen, Adam sinks deeper into a moral quagmire and continues to fail as a poet. At the heart of this tightly wound novel is a story of betrayal—within an individual, among friends and neighbors and within a society. With Adam, Galgut has created a transcendent loser, a contemporary cousin to Bellow's magnificent Tommy Wilhelm in Seize the Day . (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
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