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  • In a Strange Room

  • By: Damon Galgut
  • Narrated by: Damon Galgut
  • Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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In a Strange Room cover art

In a Strange Room

By: Damon Galgut
Narrated by: Damon Galgut
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Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.

A young man takes three journeys, through Greece, India and Africa. He travels lightly, simply. To those who travel with him and those whom he meets on the way - including a handsome, enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers and a woman on the edge - he is the Follower, the Lover and the Guardian. Yet, despite the man's best intentions, each journey ends in disaster. Together, these three journeys will change his whole life.

A novel of longing and thwarted desire, rage and compassion, In a Strange Room is the hauntingly beautiful evocation of one man's search for love, and a place to call home.

Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was 17. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor, and The Impostor. The Good Doctor was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Dublin/IMPAC Award. The Imposter was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He lives in Cape Town.

©2010 Damon Galgut (P)2010 Atlantic Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"Superb... With this new book Galgut has struck out in a new direction and taken his writing to a whole other level. It is a quite astonishing work." (William Skidelsky, Observer)
"Truly superlative... Extraordinarily readable... Galgut displays his wonderful sense of place, but also profoundly explores intimate relationships between people... A very beautiful book, strikingly conceived and hauntingly written, a writer's novel par excellence without a clumsy word in it." (Jan Morris, Guardian)
"Galgut is an outstanding writer: his prose is acute, beautiful, unsettling. I have rarely felt so moved whilst reading." (Sarah Hall, The Times)

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What listeners say about In a Strange Room

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Psychotravelogue...

This book explores the desire, pressure and joys of travel - interfaced with self-exploration and a set of relationships with other travelers, random acquaintances and close friends. Traversing a number of settings in Africa - Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania - and others in India, the reflective author explores friendship, love, loneliness, interfacing with experiences of corruption, power, terror, and anxiety. Nicely written and narrated with some beautifully written passages and insights, at times unsettling. Recommended.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Utterly sublime

Having read (and loved) the book I wondered how well the author would do with the different voices... I shouldn't have worried, he's done a fantastic job and I enjoyed this enormously. One for a long journey. Sit back and enjoy!

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4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beautifully narrated by this talented author

I have always enjoyed Damon Galgut's books and been particularly proud of him as a fellow South African (and we have a family connection as my father, who was a judge, knew his). This book was particularly enjoyable with him as narrator. I always think the author reading his or her own work is a bonus, as they know exactly where to place emphasis or expression, being so familiar with the characters and the mood. This was no exception. The three linked stories didn't necessarily tie together well, but that really didn't matter at all. The switch between the first and third person gave a sense of heightened emotion, but also disconnection with the experiences he encountered on his travels. I found the third one about Anna and India the most moving, as his frustrations yet sympathy with mental illness came across as very honest. Galgut has an unusual style of writing and I found it drew me in quite unexpectedly. I am not sure I would have felt quite the same had I read the book rather than listened, so am glad I chose an audio version.

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1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another winner…

…from Damon Galgut. He takes a blank canvas and paints a story which could reflect anyone’s life as a traveler, then he overlays the backdrop with friendships and hardships

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gentle, thoughtful, moving

This is a very quiet book. It has very little action, very little characterisation, not much dialogue and only sparse moments of description and imagery. But it is thoughtful, honest, reflective and ultimately very moving.

I normally avoid books read by the author but it this is so personal it feels right to have his own voice. I'd suggest a listening speed of 1.05.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

In a strange room

Took me a while to get into this book. Found the first part disturbing but it did get more interesting and enjoyable further on. Narrated well but do wonder if many people will get past the first 3 chapters.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Elegant and Agile Storytelling

I've listened to this over and over. Always a joy to listen to, and having the authors voice makes it even more moving. Wonderful.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

In a strange room, and a dark place

Having listened to the audio of The Impostor and found it compelling and plot-driven, I had high hopes for this book. It was clear from the beginning that the nature of the tale would be more philosophical, a musing on the nature of travel and identity, but I struggled at times with the third part, where the narrator plays the role of the Guardian. One needs great inner resilience to listen and not to be reminded of other friends lost in a similar way. Clearly this is a true, and haunting tale, but too, too poignant at times.
That having been said, there is so much to praise here: the narration is good, and once again the landscape is vividly described and comes to life before one's eyes.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Just brilliant

I usually steer well clear of authors reading their own work. But gave this a go based on other reviews. And I am delighted I did. Galgut has become a favourite author since I heard about ‘The Promise.’ There’s a certain sparseness to his writing so that when he does describe how a thing looks with his original eye, it’s dazzling.

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1 person found this helpful