Listen free for 30 days

Listen with offer

  • The Promise

  • By: Damon Galgut
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (975 ratings)

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
The Promise cover art

The Promise

By: Damon Galgut
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Try for £0.00

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £12.99

Buy Now for £12.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Listeners also enjoyed...

The Cursed Girls cover art
Out of the Silence cover art
What Napoleon Could Not Do cover art
The Road Dance cover art
It's Haunted, They Said cover art
These Ghosts Are Family cover art
The Lake Pavilion cover art
In Harm's Way cover art
Good Samaritans cover art
The Orphan House cover art
The Stolen Letter cover art
Furies cover art

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Winner of the Booker Prize 2021.

This audiobook includes bonus content of Damon Galgut in conversation with Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre.

There is nothing unusual or remarkable about the Swart family, oh no, they resemble the family from the next farm and the one beyond that, just an ordinary bunch of white South Africans, and if you don't believe it then listen to us speak....

The many voices of The Promise tell a story in four snapshots, each one centered on a family funeral, each one happening in a different decade. In the background, a different president is in power, and a different spirit hangs over the country, while in the foreground the family fights over what they call their farm, on a worthless piece of land outside Pretoria. 

Over large jumps in time, people get older, faces and laws and lives all change, while a brother and sister circle around a promise made long ago and never kept.... 

©2021 Damon Galgut (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

A superb novel; a nuanced, sad, hilarious portrait of a family and a country (PAULA HAWKINS)

This story was so powerful, the writing so strong and supple.... What an achievement (CLARE CHAMBERS)

A moving, brilliantly told family epic...darkly comic...phenomenally good (ELIZABETH DAY)

What listeners say about The Promise

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    567
  • 4 Stars
    229
  • 3 Stars
    114
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    29
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    598
  • 4 Stars
    138
  • 3 Stars
    66
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    15
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    460
  • 4 Stars
    210
  • 3 Stars
    86
  • 2 Stars
    54
  • 1 Stars
    22

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this.

Having lived in South Africa in the 70s and 80s, the narrator's delivery brought it all back to me - the words and expressions I haven't heard for years. So sad, some of it shocking, the changes over the years are illustrated very well. And I liked the character development, I disagree with those reviews said there wasn't much.
Pictures are painted throughout of the farm, the old house, the Lombard place, the Koppie. Tanny Marina at Pa's funeral was so funny, I laughed out loud! Highly recommended!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Well written. I just didn’t love it.

When I read the reviews I was a bit disturbed to see so many South Africans commenting on how the book reaffirmed why they left SA. I had committed to read it so ploughed on. It is clearly well written and an engaging story of apartheid through the lens of a family over a few decades. I listened to it quite quickly so I’d definitely grabbed my attention. I just didn’t like any of the characters and it took death for the right thing to be done. Maybe it’s supposed to leave me uncomfortable. I know very little about SA history and I’m left wanting to understand more.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly brilliant

Don't miss this. For once the Booker Committee made an excellent choice and audible made an excellent choice of reader.

The depiction of white South Africans is just perfect. I have connections with that time and place and I know that this is as authentic as you can get, beating by a mile every other attempt I have found to capture the mindset.

I also love the intelligent, compact prose, which is not exclusively directed at the post-apartheid crisis of the whites but gives astute and entertaining commentary on many aspects of South African society.

I am sorry for anyone who reads the print copy as the audible version adds a whole dimension. It is a rare delight to hear a proper accent, and equally a shame that for his other books they got an Australian who thinks he can imitate a South African but can't.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Difficult to review

I know my fair share of the SA culture and history. This was accurate and immaculately written with a great performance from Noble. The writing is beautiful that is for sure.

As people have said in other reviews I just didn't love those in it. I'm not sure you will either. A broken state of order. This may reflect modern SA.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Very slow moving with not much going on

The reason i got this, because it was recommended by a YouTuber i follow. I knew after the first 30 minutes or so that I will not enjoy this book. I tried to find a way how to return it and get my credit back but couldn’t figure that out so I persevered… however as predicted it just did not deliver. All the characters were super boring, with no character development. It was just too realistic. Nothing interesting happened. just ordinary lives described in a fancy prose. The performance was good though, I enjoyed the narration very much!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An accurate glimpse into a slice of the pre and post democratic era of South Africa

The Promise offers a rare opportunity to explore the minds and world of a wealthy South African family, who in many ways depicted the white South African dream, but, who ultimately fell into a type of hell. A hell that is largely of their own making through their own narcissism, bigotry and racism. While, in many ways, one can’t help but feel that the characters had no other opportunity to act in any other way, being subjected to the unique set of circumstances that presented them, this novel has the unusual ability to force introspection and ask, “How would
I be any different?” It also has the effect of confronting the reader with the impartiality and limitations of human mortality. The book takes the subject matter and uses four decades of South African history, spanning the pre and post democratic era, as its canvas, accurately conveying the everyday experience through rich and honest descriptions.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A story reflecting torn alliances & values.

Narrator was good, accents were fine. Enjoyed the novel. It deserved to win the Booker prize.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb book, read magnificently well

Well deserved winner of the Booker prize, this is a book which captures the multifaceted, multigenerational challenges of everyday life in the ‘new’ South Africa. The narration is excellent. This is a book which will stay with me for a long time!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An insightful look at a country though one family.

The Promise was a most enjoyable listen. The characters are very complex and their interactions are layered with problems, as in any family. However through them we get a wonderful insight into the condition of S.A over the last 40ish years.

The use of time and perspective were my two favourite aspects of this book and at time it feels more like a film than a book cutting in and out of scenes.

The narrator is another fascinating aspect taking the reader/listener down a number of rabbit holes whilst also leaving many people intentionally undeveloped. Ultimately giving us a remarkable insight into the complexity of the rainbow nation.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Just so depressing!

Admittedly this is a beautifully crafted work, evoking many familiar themes and experiences, with fabulous authentic narration… but holy moly what a depressing saga!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!