Damon Galgut’s third novel, a fictionalized biography of English author E.M. Forster, focuses on Forster’s many years in India and the process of writing his masterpiece, A Passage to India. This compact, finely wrought novel also addresses Forster’s unforgiving childhood in England and the homosexuality he feared and repressed throughout his life. Psychologically acute without being sentimental, Forster’s relationships are described with compassion and great care. Galgut is a master at constructing strange, compelling landscapes, and Arctic Summer shifts seamlessly between staid, restricting England and Cairo and vibrant, pleasantly absurd India. Moments of gentle humor shine through the sparse prose, lending Forster a humanity that makes his story all the more heartbreaking.
Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1963. A previous novel, The Good Doctor, was a finalist for the Booker Prize and the commonwealth Writer's Prize. His new book, In a Strange Room, has been shortlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize. He lives in Capetown.