Friday, 20 May 2011
Title: The Impostor
Author: Damon Galgut
Number of pages: 249
Started: 18 May 2011
Finished: 20 May 2011
The journey was almost over; they were nearly at their destination.
There was a turn-off and nothing else in sight except a tree, a field of sheep and lines of heat rippling from the tar. Adam was supposed to stop, but he didn’t stop, or not completely. Nothing was coming, it was safe, what he did posed no danger to anybody.
When the cop stepped out from behind the tree, it was as if he’d materialized out of nowhere. He was clean and vertical and pe- remptory in his uniform, like an exclamation mark. He stood in the road with his hand held up and Adam pulled over. They looked at each other through the open window.
Adam said, “Oh, come on, you can’t be serious.”
The cop was a young man, wearing dark glasses. He gave the impression, in all this dust and sun, of being impossibly cool and composed. “There is a stop sign,” he told Adam. “You didn’t stop. The fine is one thousand rand.”
“Wow. That’s a lot of money.”
He smiled and shrugged. “Your driver’s licence, please.”
When Adam moves into an abandoned house on the dusty edge of town, he is hoping to recover from the loss of his job and his home in the city. But when he meets Canning - a shadowy figure from his childhood - and Canning's enigmatic and beautiful wife, a sinister new chapter in his life begins. Canning has inherited a vast fortune and built for himself a giant folly in the veld, a magical place of fantasy and dreams that seduces Adam and transforms him absolutely, violently - and perhaps forever.
What I thought:
Damon Galgut is a recent discovery of mine, and one that I am glad I made. This book was another sinister tale and looked at the dark side of humanity. It was a well written novel that looked at the tensions of South African society, although the underlying issues are perhaps ones about humanity as a whole, rather than one particular nation.
It was a dark reflection on the depths that people will stoop to in order to feel that they are in control of their own destiny.