Format: Trade Paperback, 208 pages
Publisher: Emblem Editions
ISBN: 978-0-7710-3278-3 (0-7710-3278-1)
Pub Date: April 4, 2006
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Damon Galgut stepped prominently onto the international stage with the publication of The Good Doctor He has been compared to J.M. Coetzee, Graham Greene, and Joseph Conrad, but his voice is truly his own. .The Quarry written ten years ago but never before published outside South Africa, is a stark, intense, and crystalline novel in which human nature is set against the desolate backdrop of rural South Africa.
On a lonely stretch of road a man picks up a hitchhiker. The driver is a minister on his way to a new congregation in an isolated village and the passenger is a nameless fugitive from justice. When the minister realizes this, and confronts his passenger as they are overlooking an empty quarry, the fugitive kills him and assumes his vestments and identity, only to discover that one of his first duties as the new minister is to bury the body of his victim. Despite hints that two local petty criminals may be responsible, the local police chief is watching the new minister, and as the two play a tense game of cat and mouse,culminating in a desperate pursuit across the veldt, Damon Galgut gives us a spare, devastating combat for man’s most prized attribute: freedom.,
From the Hardcover edition.
“A slim, haunting work of poignancy and near perfection.”
— Globe and Mail
‘The Quarry proves that he has the talent to grow into one of South Africa’s great literary voices, alongside its Nobel laureates, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee.’
‘As he proved amply in last year’s superb The Good Doctor, Galgut is a writer of immense clarity and control. His prose feels as if it’s been fired through a crucible, burning away all the comfortable excess until only a hard, concentrated purity remains.… There are thrilling images here, powerful themes and almost scarily precise writing. With J.M. Coetzee, André Brink, Nadine Gordimer and this year’s Booker-shortlisted Achmat Dangor, Galgut is at the leading edge of what is turning out to be a brilliant documentation of South Africa’s post-apartheid transition.’
‘We not only read the narrative, but seem to be participating in the headlong rush of events.… A minor masterpiece. The Quarry is told in clear prose where every word counts and the plot and characters are utterly compelling.… This is a truly fine start to any novel, on a par with the vivid intensity at the beginning of William Faulkner’s Sanctuary.’
‘An equally uncompromising journey into the heart of South Africa’s darkness, written in prose that is at once stark and striking.… The Quarry is Galgut’s homage to Dostoevsky.… An impressive work and a disturbing reiteration of Galgut’s belief that while the institutions of his country’s government may have changed, the hearts and minds of its people have not.’
‘An extremely atmospheric book in a hazy, raw and entirely realistic sense.… Galgut’s story suggests that such points on the map, despite their ghostly quiet, are seething with repressed violence, ready to explode.… A compelling read about guilt and evasion of truth.’
‘Damon Galgut’s style is as bony as the landscape he depicts, as sly and sinewy as the characters that inhabit it.… Blunt and tense and fresh.’
‘The scenes of township, quarry and shorescape have a strange, Beckett-like glow and menace.’
–Adam Piette, Scotland on Sunday
‘Fascinating.…Not a word out of place.’
“In a bleak morality tale about a fugitive from justice, Galgut again demonstrates his flair for charting the vicissitudes of human despair in modern day South Africa… With increasingly stomach-tightening intensity, Galgut chronicles his troubled protagonist’s struggles to evade capture… The suspenseful narrative never strays from the dreary force of its understated character development. As the story builds to a climax, Galgut heightens the book’s emotional power with tense one-page chapters until justice – cosmic justice, in this case – comes to call.”
Damon Galgut’s most recent novel, The Good Doctor, won a regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
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