Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In a Strange Room” as Want to Read:
In a Strange Room
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In a Strange Room

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  2,876 Ratings  ·  384 Reviews
A young man takes three journeys, through Greece, India and Africa. He travels lightly, simply. To those who travel with him and those whom he meets on the way - including a handsome, enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers and a woman on the edge - he is the Follower, the Lover and the Guardian. Yet, despite the man's best intentions, each journey ends in disa ...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Atlantic Books (first published October 13th 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In a Strange Room, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
El Burrows Alienation, it is basically a memoir.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Jaidee
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travellers of the land, sea and heart
Recommended to Jaidee by: my sweetheart
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "existential, melancholy, profound" stars !!

2017 Silver Award (Tie) (2nd Favorite Read)

This is the perfect night to write this review. Gloomy, rainy and cold as I walked the neighborhood earlier while listening to Nick Cave.

I read this book over our recent vacation late at night on our balcony while watching the moon overlook the Mediterranean Sea. This book is my first read by South African Writer Damon Galgut.
This book was shortlisted for both the Booker and Ondaatje literary prizes in 201
...more
Orsodimondo
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sudafrica
THE STRANGER INSIDE ME
I libri sono viaggi (ma perché solo i libri, non lo è l’Arte in genere?) e questo romanzo di Galgut, composto da tre racconti lunghi usciti sulla Paris Review con lo stesso protagonista in tre fasi diverse della vita, è in apparenza un libro di viaggio: tre continenti, Africa (in lungo e in largo, Sudafrica, Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Marocco…), Europa (Grecia, Svizzera, Londra, Parigi…), Asia (India).

description
André Thijssen.

Ma non è un libro che appartenga alla letteratu
...more
Helle
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Things happen once only and are never repeated, never return. Except in memory.

A young South-African man travels through Greece, Africa and India. Three journeys, three continents, different people intersecting his life. The journeys take place years apart, with him as the only connecting thread. In the three stories he is alternately a follower, a lover and a guardian, and we hear the stories from the man he would become, who is looking at him years hence, reliving the three journeys from a dis
...more
·Karen·
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Unobtrusive words, nothing fancy or overworked, no backflips or showiness. The effect however is heart wrenching. Damon Galgut surgically cuts to the vital. And leaves you gasping for air.

There was some discussion when this book made the Booker shortlist in 2010. Is it a novel? Not in any conventional sense, no. Three accounts of journeys undertaken by a character called Damon, referred to in the third person mostly. Galgut is ready to admit that this is indeed himself, and that the events depi
...more
Ron Charles
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: guys-wandering
I'm weary of dreary.

I know it's an act of book reviewing apostasy, but I've had it with the exquisitely crafted sighs of depressed men. And that's not just the eggnog talking. Honestly, how many times do we have to praise the stark story of a wandering, alienated man that Hemingway perfected in "The Sun Also Rises" way back in 1926?

Every year adds two or three "haunting masterpieces" to this respected subgenre. This year's top entries included Joshua Ferris's grave "The Unnamed," Dinaw Mengestu'
...more
Roger Brunyate
The Space Between the Lines

Open any page of Galgut's 2010 novel, and you will see that, instead of being set close together as is the usual practice, there is a full line of white space between paragraphs, giving a curiously open look to the page. And where the page consists mostly of dialogue, without even quotation marks or the "he said, she said" indicators, the effect is both striking and curiously unsettling, as though there is nothing to root the book in reality or link its parts together.
...more
Teresa
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: ·Karen·
I don't know if it's something in me or something in the book that makes me think of its title as "In a Dark Room," which is not like me at all, as I'm a stickler for exact titles. There is much darkness here, but the work is focused on the 'strange' (not familiar) 'rooms' (not literal) the writer/character finds himself in as he travels excessively and obsessively, it sometimes seems.

This is a hybrid sort of book. It's listed as fiction, but the author names his character Damon and uses both 'I
...more
Jessica
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There are certain writers one discovers, whose works one reads, consumes, as if they were writing directly to you, for you. Damon Galgut is such an author for me. This is the fourth novel (a trio of novellas, actually) I've read by him, and it's the most intensely personal, and (perhaps along with 'The Good Doctor,') the most beautiful and harrowing.
You can find other reviews to tell you plot, etc. I'll say simply that Galgut is one of the most authentic and significant novelists writing today.
...more
Sunil
How do you sit down and write a review for a book that deep down you know not just speaks for you but in its own strange way represents you ? Yes! represents you, or whatever that is you. You don't, you can't. You sit and close your eyes and let all the thoughts the book evoked within you turn inside your head, one after another like waves crashing on the shore. Some day when the stirring has settled, I will write. I know I will.

For now, all I can say is just that this book has been written make
...more
Fionnuala
I read this while travelling and the unfamiliar surroundings, the new vistas, the waking up in a strange room added an extra dimension to this already challenging reading experience. Galgut steps outside the conventions. Not for him the adherence to a plot or the limiting of himself to details related to that plot. He writes life as she is lived. The three interlinked accounts in this novel seem as aimless as the journeys undertaken by the main character, who is mostly referred to simply as 'he' ...more
Kenneth
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel that's really made up of three disconcerting novellas. The stories are not dependent on each other but they are very consistent and stubborn in theme: Isolation, chance encounters and the inability to strike meaningful, lasting relationships, pointless journeys that resolve nothing, of being out of place.

The prose is wonderful: Elegant, tight and minimalist. There's nothing awkward or ungainly to be found here. It reminds me a lot of Coetzee at his best. Throughout the novel Gal
...more
Hanneke
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Dit boek stond op de shortlist voor de Booker Prize, maar heeft niet gewonnen. Volgens mij onterecht, want het is een van die boeken die zo’n impact heeft dat je er nog dagen van bij moet komen. En dat gebeurt alleen als je echt geraakt wordt. Als de gebeurtenissen, de menselijke interactie of gebrek daaraan, je pijnlijk bekend voorkomen.

Het boek beschrijft drie reizen van de hoofdpersoon, een jonge Zuidafrikaan, die Damon heet. Of de verhalen autobiografisch zijn, kan niet met zekerheid vastge
...more
Kimbofo
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reviews
Damon Gadget’s In a Strange Room is a lush, hypnotic novel that explores longing and desire through the prism of travel.

Divided into three seemingly unrelated parts — The Follower, The Lover and The Guardian — it merges in the reader’s mind to form a seamless whole.

If you’ve ever gone travelling/backpacking, felt alienated or not known what you want from life, it will resonate.

To read my review in full, please visit my blog.
notgettingenough
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit

‘Was I completely mad? How could I have thought to buy a book just like that – in such a frivilous, impetuous way – without checking to see that at least thirty of my Goodreads friends had given it the thumbs up?’


http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...
Brian Murray
Sep 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Emotionally stunted South African male travels the world and has frustrating, horrible and pointless experiences. Pretty much a waste of 180 pages of perfectly good paper.
Jill
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The title is from William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying: “In a strange room you must empty yourself for sleep. And before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are emptied for sleep, you are not. And when you are filled with sleep, you never were.”

That tile is not a coincidence, because in profound ways, parts of the narrator feel as if they’re gasping for air. Damon Galgut’s hauntingly conceived and elegantly written book is about the fluidity of identity. In three interwoven secti
...more
Ben Winch
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book and Damon Galgut is a brave, committed writer. Committed? It takes commitment to lay yourself bare, without self-pity, without shame, without apology. Nothing is wasted here; there is no wallowing. Perhaps owing to the simple innovation of the form (a trilogy - or better, tryptich - of short novellas, each recounting a journey), there is little need for scene-setting or back-story. Galgut's alter-ego/protagonist exists only when he's traveling, never sinking into routine ...more
Friederike Knabe
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa, african-lit
"Travel makes one a stranger..." this African proverb may well apply to Damon Galgut's protagonist in his 2010 novel, In a Strange Room . "Too much travelling and placelessness have put him outside everything..." the protagonist admits. Later, he muses, he is not "a traveller by nature, it is a state that has been forced on him by circumstance... He is only passing through."

But is he really only "passing through"? Galgut's central character, also named Damon, travels widely and extensively: Fi
...more
Neil
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 5-stars
I read New Finnish Grammar followed by The Names and they were connected by being about language and words. Then I read this and it links with The Names by being about travel. I can feel a new game coming on! In fact, this book, which is actually three short stories set in three different parts of the world, contains some wonderful travel writing: it is worth reading just for the way it evokes a sense of place.

But it is also worth reading for so many more reasons. Firstly, the writing is wonderf
...more
Andrew
Mar 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Part travelogue, part psychologically deconstructive journey, In A Strange Room kept me at arm’s length for almost the entirety of its 180 pages. Structured as three mid-length stories strung together loosely as a novella, the most pressing thought I’m left with is that the book lacked focus—both on a macro and micro level, as none of the tales, independent of the whole, came together with any level of clarity beyond the objective curiosity they first inspire.

The three sections—“The Follower,” “
...more
Alan
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, read-in-2010
Germaine Greer on a review programme that was looking at the Booker short listed novels complained that in this book there is little about the countries visited, even though it is a kind of travel book, more about the state of the mind of its main protagonist, a figure that slips from third person to first, sometimes in the course of a sentence, and is called 'Damon'. What struck her is its solipsism. She has a point. Often it is the gaps between destinations, the ennui of this type of travel (A ...more
Larry H
Damon, the narrator of Damon Galgut's beautiful yet spare In a Strange Room, can't seem to settle down. Every time he finds himself settling into a place, he is struck by the somewhat inexplicable need to roam. Perhaps this quote says it best: "There is a moment when any real journey begins. Sometimes it happens as you leave your house, sometimes it's a long way from home."



The book follows Damon on three separate journies, which are three separate chapters. In the first, he meets up with German
...more
Jim Elkins
Lack of Imagination, which Turns Fiction into Reporting

This is not a novel. I am amazed and depressed that this made it onto the Man Booker list.

Novels are supposed to be acts of imagination. This is barely papered-over reportage. There are entire pages that seem to exist simply because the author couldn't think of anything except what actually happened. (For example, the revelation, in the second story, that tourists profit from poverty.) The stories parade fragmentation and apparent disorder a
...more
Gozde
Aug 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
I'm really losing my hope on Man Booker books, especially of the year 2010. One more disappointment was this one, the most boring book I've read about travelling.

Frankly, Mr. Galgut thinks we would feel sorry about his main character Damon and his travelling experiences. I can't even say adventures.

But I really despise characters, especially male characters who feel depressed and not connected to this world for no apparent reason. They don't make me feel pity, they make me feel anger. All I wan
...more
Monica
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book. The words are poetry. The sentences are magic carpets of words that take the reader from one thought to the next...many times leaving disturbing feelings and images behind. This is what I call “raw” writing. From the heart, with emotion, with great sensitivity. I read this book ever so slowly so that I could savour every moment I spent within the pages. I love the way Damon Galgut writes. I love the way he makes me think as I’m reading. Haunting...unsettling...unforgetta ...more
Dennis Jacob Rosenfeld
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
Complex. Stunning. Beautiful. Harrowing. Original.
Jill
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Why did I wait so long to read this book? Loved it!
Liviu
I got a copy of In A Strange Room today and I read it in several hours after work; just hooked me from the first several pages and the first two stories were fabulous - both are mostly African travelogues, one is backpacking with a friend encountered in Greece, but the story is stranger than you think; the second is hopping between several groups of people and as opposed to the very intimate first story (not in a romantic or sexual way though), it is a story with lots of character snippets

The la
...more
Salvatore
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quiet whirlwind regarding traveling, the inability to communication, lost opportunities, foreign lands. The fact that we can never live up to the names people give to us. Mood writing.
Xandra
It happens like this. She's at the airport with six hours to spare and only a book for company. Close by, a group of tourists are boarding a plane going to her destination. I should have booked the earlier flight, I would have made the connection. When the tourists are gone, she opens the book and starts reading. She expects something cheerful. Easy breazy travel read to pass the time. The words have a calming simplicity, they evoke the melancholy of travel, the beauty of wandering, the loneline ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: In a Strange Room 1 5 Sep 15, 2012 01:57PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: In a Strange Room, by Damon Galgut 1 2 Sep 09, 2012 07:41PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: In A Strange Room 1 4 Sep 02, 2012 03:15PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: In a Strange Room 1 3 Mar 31, 2012 06:09PM  
THE LISTS: Rehab's Novel Rationale 2 and Updates 11 14 Jan 23, 2012 10:00PM  
  • The Stars in the Bright Sky
  • C
  • I'll Go to Bed at Noon
  • The Betrayal (The Siege #2)
  • Summertime
  • The Long Song
  • Parrot and Olivier in America
  • Trespass
  • The Expedition to the Baobab Tree: A Novel
  • Heliopolis
  • The Quickening Maze
  • The Essence of the Thing
  • Bitter Fruit
  • The Northern Clemency
  • Mama's Boy and Other Dark Tales
  • The Black Nile: One Man's Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World's Longest River
  • Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir
  • The Lighthouse
97 followers
Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963. He wrote his first novel, A Sinless Season, when he was seventeen. His other books include Small Circle of Beings, The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs, The Quarry, The Good Doctor and The Impostor. The Good Doctor was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Dublin/IMPAC Award. The Imposter was also shortlisted for the Com ...more
More about Damon Galgut

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lisette's List
    $11.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • In Between Days
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Girls from Corona del Mar
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Embers
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Dog's Purpose (A Dog's Purpose, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Temple of My Familiar (The Color Purple Collection)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
“If I had done this, if I had said that, in the end you are always more tormented by what you didn't do than what you did, actions already performed can always be rationalized in time, the neglected deed might have changed the world.” 33 likes
“A journey is a gesture inscribed in space, it vanishes even as it's made. You go from one place to another place, and on to somewhere else again, and already behind you there is no trace that you were ever there.” 17 likes
More quotes…