An “unsettling and engaging” novel about contemporary South Africa, from the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Promise (The Telegraph).
Adam Napier leaves Johannesburg looking for a fresh start. Jobless and directionless, but with a head full of literary ambitions, he moves into his brother’s dilapidated house on the edge of a backwater town. One day he encounters Canning, a man who claims Adam saved his life in their school days. Adam does not remember him at all. But he plays along and, for a time, enjoys all that Canning has: a vast fortune and game preserve inherited from his father, and a beautiful, mysterious younger wife to whom Adam is compulsively, dangerously drawn.
“An antipastoral, post-apartheid noir” (Publishers Weekly) by “a worthy heir to Gordimer and Coetzee”, The Imposter evokes a glittering world of the moneyed old guard, newly empowered black Africans, and the betrayal and obsessions hiding in the shadows of the new South African dream (The Guardian, UK).
In this bleak and thrilling novel, the fifth from Booker Prize nominee Galgut, the author creates an antipastoral, postapartheid noir that centers around Adam Napier, a depressed poet who retreats to a rural South African town to write. Rather than write, Adam drinks and wallows in depression. The story accelerates once he meets Canning, a former schoolmate who regards Adam as a personal hero even though Adam cannot remember him. As it turns out, Canning is a wealthy businessman with a vendetta against his dead father: he plans to transform an idyllic game preserve his father owned into a golf course. While Canning facilitates business between corrupt politicians and shady businessmen, Adam sinks deeper into a moral quagmire and continues to fail as a poet. At the heart of this tightly wound novel is a story of betrayal within an individual, among friends and neighbors and within a society. With Adam, Galgut has created a transcendent loser, a contemporary cousin to Bellow's magnificent Tommy Wilhelm in Seize the Day.