In A Strange Room is a highly accomplished, if completely unconventional, piece of work. Masquerading as a set of three stories which document the travels of ‘Damon’ (the protagonist) around Lesotho, Central Africa and India, it soon becomes clear that this triptych of prose is more than just a collection of run-of-the-mill travel writings. Exploring themes of love, loss, loneliness, suicide and death, the book takes the reader on a journey which transcends the geographical. As we follow Damon’s aimless meandering around vast swathes of Africa and India, and witness his inability to form lasting human connections, we come to the uncomfortable realisation that his relentless travelling is really just a desperate, but ultimately futile, attempt to escape from himself. Galgut forces the reader to examine Damon’s motivations, and by default, our own ... which can sometimes make for uncomfortable reading.
In A Strange Room is a profoundly moving and insightful commentary on the inherent loneliness of the human condition and the fragility of all human relationships. Haunting, evocative and completely mesmerizing, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the complex nature of our interactions with ourselves and the world we live in.
4 / 5
In A Strange Room is published by Atlanntic Books, an imprint of Grove Atlantic Ltd.