The Birdcage Archives

Sunday 7 November 2021

Damon Galgut Wins The Booker Prize Winner for 2021

Hello Gentle Reader,
After enduring what seemed to be a marathon week from hell, I had completely forgotten that the Booker Prize had announced who had received this year’s award. This year’s award went to the South African writer, Damon Galgut with his novel: “The Promise.”
“The Promise,” has been praised as a gripping and innovative novel that charts contemporary South African history through four different funerals over forty years. This includes apartheid, the election of Nelson Mandela, and the post-apartheid years, all through the troubled and unhappy family history of the Afrikaner family: The Swarts, and their failed promise to their Black domestic employee. The novel is structured in four acts (the four funerals) and recounts with acute detail the history of the time as it haunts and affects the Swart family and their domestic help Salome, who is routinely overlooked by the Swarts or failed by them. The four acts of the novel and the tracing of contemporary South African history has shown the moral failings, the colonial legacy, the bitter racism, and all corrupting influence of dishonesty still prevalent within the country.
It would be a cheapen the novel to call it a reckoning of South African past and present, but there can be no denying that its story and its themes are rooted and intwined with the condition of South Africa from its colonial and apartheid legacy to its post-colonial and post-apartheid present. There is an accounting that unresolved racism, segregation, and oppression are still viewed and held within the country, as viewed by the continued failures to maintain a promise by the Swarts to Salome. Yet accountability and recognition of these failings are perhaps the first steps to resolution and moving forward.
Congratulations are in order to Damon Galgut for winning this years Booker Prize. It’s well deserved.
Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read
M. Mary