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Publishers Weekly: "Fascinating."

Date: Nov 15 2010

Starred Review

There's a lot of travel in Booker Prize finalist Galgut's (The Good Doctor) new novel, but he's more interested in depicting the randomness, heightened sensitivity, dread, and possibility that come from unfamiliar places than in seeing the sights. A South African man travels in Greece, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, and India, forming the complicated, tenuous relationships that provide the book's three sections titles (Follower; Lover; Guardian). This character, who bears the author's name and seems to share his history, is both "he" and "I." Though these shifts can occur in the space of a sentence, they're surprisingly easy to accept, and attentive readers will get a subtle, frank depiction of some of the problems of writing; "he" seems to be Galgut, but often experiences himself as divided, uncertain, and blurry as a fictional character evading his creator, "I" often steps in to remind us of the limits of memory and the artificiality of genre distinctions. At its best Galgut's tale has the feel of arriving in a destination you'd never planned to go. It's not always pleasant, but it's strangely fascinating.

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