Does 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.
- The Impostor by Damon Galgut
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