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Stick! Joab Jackson on The Impostor

The ImpostorDamon GalgutDoes a stick from Baltimore hit harder and faster? Before we get into the ergonomic analysis of stick velocity let it be said that any review that starts with these words would send shivers down my spine were I the author: “If an uncompelling poet stops writing, it really isn’t a tragedy to anyone other than that poet.”

According to Joab Jackson, Damon Galgut’s The Impostor “never lands a full punch, because the consequences of the poet’s inaction [the main character in Galgut's book] are muddy at best”. If the novel doesn’t deliver, this reviewer’s stick surely lands a whack:

Spiked by spiritual malaise, Adam Napier moves from his Johannesburg hometown to live in his brother’s dilapidated country house. Hoping to reconnect with his muse, Napier instead falls into a stupor as the weeks pass. In a nearby village, he runs into a childhood schoolmate, Canning, who has inherited an unfinished gaming preserve from his father, one with only a few wild animals and a handful of paid workers from the town. Canning lionizes Napier, though Napier himself can’t remember the guy from his youth. In fact, he finds Canning, filled with forced bravura and a disregard for the locals, somewhat repugnant.

But without much else to do, Napier starts spending weekends at Canning’s estate. And perhaps inevitably, he sleeps with Canning’s alluring but emotionally chilly “coloured” wife, Baby. Getting with Baby temporarily rekindles Napier’s poetry writing, and even sparks the energy to clear away all the unsightly weeds that choke his backyard.

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 7th, 2009 @10:35 #
     
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    What is a "gaming preserve", pray tell? Either the reviewer or the US edition misinterpreted "game reserve". I also get the feeling the reviewer may be an avid golfer.

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  • <a href="http://fionasnyckers.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Fiona</a>
    Fiona
    April 7th, 2009 @11:14 #
     
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    As for the use of the word "lionizes" in such close proximity to "gaming preserves" and "wild animals" ... ouch! The merest read-through should have spotted that one.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 7th, 2009 @11:23 #
     
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    Indeed, the threat of lionization is ever present in gaming preserves.

    And surely everyone knows that no Johannesburg poet would ever entertain the notion of seeking refuge in the Karoo, of all places.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    April 7th, 2009 @11:26 #
     
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    When in a gaming preserve, preservation serves the game?

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  • <a href="http://tomeaton.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tom</a>
    Tom
    April 7th, 2009 @11:37 #
     
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    Is this one of those gaming preserves where they spend their time Canning lions? Or perhaps putting them in bottles as game preserve? So many puns, so little inclination...

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 7th, 2009 @11:54 #
     
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    How we have missed your Napier-sharp wit, Tom.

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  • <a href="http://kathrynwhite.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Kathryn</a>
    Kathryn
    April 7th, 2009 @12:03 #
     
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    bwa ahahahaha. thank u for my 2nd laugh of the day.

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  • <a href="http://tomeaton.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tom</a>
    Tom
    April 7th, 2009 @12:25 #
     
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    Thank you, Richard. However, I suspect that we have now run the full Galgut of punning possibilities.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 7th, 2009 @13:35 #
     
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    You truly are an Impostor boy for punmanship everywhere, Tom.

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  • <a href="http://rustumkozain.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    April 7th, 2009 @14:20 #
     
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    Teeheehee...

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    April 7th, 2009 @15:09 #
     
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    Damon! (game-on - aargh, i suppose a pun doesn't work if you have to explain it. A pathetic attempt from Beukes. No points.)

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    April 8th, 2009 @09:23 #
     
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    No reBeukes could be harsh enough, Lauren. I'm afraid we're going to have to subtract points.

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  • <a href="http://www.moxyland.com" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    April 8th, 2009 @11:24 #
     
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    Nooyt, Richard, have a heart, man.

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