Set against the drawn-out dissolution of the Apartheid system and sense of rebirth that followed, this endlessly readable novel tracks the Swart family and their own trajectory of dissolution and possible rebirth after the death of Rachel, the family matriarch. Though third-person omniscient narration hasn’t been in vogue since Henry James, Galgut, who was twice nominated for the Booker Prize before winning it with this book in 2021, utilizes an off-kilter variety that somehow manages to be simultaneously expansive, intimate, and vaguely menacing.— Rico
WINNER OF THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE
On her deathbed, Rachel Swart makes a promise to Salome, the family's Black maid. This promise will divide the family--especially her children: Anton, the golden boy; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by feelings of guilt.
Reunited by four funerals over thirty years, the dwindling Swart family remains haunted by the unmet promise, just as their country is haunted by its own failures. The Promise is an epic South African drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of history, sure to leave its readers transformed.
"Simply: you must read it."--Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine
★ "This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)