The Impostor, by Damon Galgut
The Impostor is the first new novel from Damon Galgut since his very successful writing "The Good Doctor".
The journey was almost over; they were nearly at their destination. There was a turn-off and nothing else in sight except a tree, a field of sheep and lines of heat rippling from the tar. Adam was supposed to stop, but he didn't stop, or not completely. Nothing was coming, it was safe, what he did posed no danger to anybody. When the cop stepped out from behind the tree, it was as if he'd materialized out of nowhere. He was clean and vertical and peremptory in his uniform, like an exclamation mark. He stood in the road with his hand held up and Adam pulled over. They looked at each other through the open window. Adam said, 'Oh, come on, you can't be serious.' The cop was a young man, wearing dark glasses. He gave the impression, in all this dust and sun, of being impossibly cool and composed. 'There is a stop sign,' he told Adam. 'You didn't stop. The fine is one thousand rand.' 'Wow. That's a lot of money' He smiled and shrugged. 'Your driver's licence, please.' 'Can't you let it go? Just give me a warning or something? He searched for the mans eyes, but all he got was dark glass. 'I have to follow the rules, sir. Do you want me to break the rules?' 'Uh, well, it would be nice if you stretched them a bit.' The man smiled again. T could get into trouble for that, sir.' After a pause he added, 'You would have to make it worth my while.' 'Sorry?' 'If you want me to break the rules, you have to make it worthwhile.' It was spoken so casually, in such a conversational way, that Adam thought he'd misheard. But no: it had been said, exactly as he thought. He was stunned. He'd heard about this sort of thing, but he'd never had to deal with it himself. He sat rigidly behind the wheel, trying to think it through, his sense of time frozen in the vertical white light, while the man stalked around the car, looking at the headlamps, the tyres, the registration. When he got back to the window, the cop said, 'And I notice your licence is out of date. That would be another thousand. So, what do you think? Let's say ... two hundred, and we can forget the whole thing.' Adam was suddenly outraged. 'No,' he said. 'No?' 'Absolutely not. I'm not paying you one cent.' The man shrugged again. The smile was still there, flickering faintly around his plump little mouth. 'Your driver's licence, please,' he said. Adam managed to read the registration number of the cop's car, which was parked behind the tree, as he pulled out, and he recited it to himself as he drove on. But he didn't have a pen and paper to hand, and by the time he reached the next Service station, a few kilometres further, he wasn't sure any more whether the sequence of numbers was correct. Nevertheless, he wrote it down on a scrap of paper he got from the waitress in the tea-room adjoining the garage. He was repeating it, trying to match it to the memory in his head, when Gavin and Charmaine came in. They had pulled over when he was stopped and had watched the whole scene in the rear-view mirror. 'What was all that about?' Gavin said. 'He wanted money.' [...]
This is an excerpt from the novel The Impostor, by Damon Galgut.
Title: The Impostor
Authors: Damon Galgut
Publisher: The Penguin Group (South Africa)
2nd rev. edition. Cape Town, South Africa, 2010
ISBN 9780143026303 / ISBN 978-0-14-302630-3
Softcover, 15 x 23 cm, 232 pages, numerous photos
Galgut, Damon im Namibiana-Buchangebot
'The Impostor' evokes the landscape of the Karoo and pushes various ideas regarding alienation and human interaction that seem to be recurrent themes in modern South African literature.
The Good Doctor is a triumph of understatement, drawing its reader subtly into the political debris which forms the unspoken motivation for its characters' every move.
'The Quarry' is a stark, intense, and crystalline novel in which human nature is set against the desolate backdrop of rural South Africa.