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The Quarry Paperback – 12 May 2005

3.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; New edition edition (12 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843542951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843542957
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,000,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I liked this novel a lot. It has all the vigour and raw honesty of The Good Doctor. --Doris Lessing

About the Author

Damon Galgut was born in Pretoria in 1963 and now lives in Cape Town. 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 and The Good Doctor.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A short, sharp blast of a book - think early Cormac McCarthy in apartheid South Africa. A nameless killer accepts a lift from a travelling priest who then demands sexual favours of him; leaving the priest murdered in a quarry, he takes over the dead man's identity and begins his new life as a preacher. The amorality of the man is never explained, and the book has a horrible, dark energy that really captivated me. First class stuff.
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By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I read in a newspaper that Damon Algut's highly-regarded 1995 novel, The Quarry has recently been re-released (at a very reasonable price on Kindle) and needing a break from lengthier books I decided to try it.

Damon Galgut has been short-listed twice for the Booker Prize and has also won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for The Good Doctor. He is noted for writing about Post-Apartheid South Africa and uses his position as a well-known writer to take a stand on human rights issues.

As I read The Quarry I felt that Galgut was using the fewest words possible - this is undecorated prose, matching the bleak landscape of pre-reformed South African townships. Into this landscape walks an unnamed man. He has been walking for days, living off the land and sleeping in ditches. Before long we learn that he is on the run and doesn't care where he is going, only that wherever it is, it is somewhere other than the place he is fleeing from.

The land he walks through seems to be a desolate place; neglected scrub-land, with scattered villages which have turned their backs on the world - and passing travellers. A car stops and a lift is offered, but who is in more danger, the driver of his new passenger? The sinister landscape adds to a sense of tension and before long a sexual approach is made, a terrible crime is committed and a body is hidden in a nearby quarry.

The scene now shifts to a coastal township where the people live in grinding poverty, subsisting on menial work and theft from visitors. A car can be stripped down overnight and a door left open will result in a house being ransacked. A church stands in the centre of town and a false preacher gathers a congregation around him while the local police chief begins to investigate a murder.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The man saw this book on Amazon. He downloaded it to his Kindle. He started to read it. It was ok. After a while he got frustrated with the short sentences. He kept reading on. There were several main characters in the story. Most were men. When the story progressed he read the word 'he' so many times, he lost who 'he' was. Towards the end of the book, 'comma's' disappeared. So did full stops. "Why?". "I don't know". "Was it a good book?" "Yes". "No".
Basically, if you like my review you'll love this book. If you dislike my review, you'll hate it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The history, identity, motives of the main protagonist are veiled. The book is a short, isolated un-pleasant slice of the man's life. The portrayal is efficient. There's not much love, hope or redemption in here, it's pretty bleak.

The Quarry is extremely well written, words are used effectively and sparingly and we are told nothing unnecessary. Many questions remain unanswered, to us and to the main characters.

I'm glad I read it, but I won't be reading it again.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Initally I was quite interested in the plot, hoping things would warm up. Gradually the text has less and less punctuation. At times it was difficult to know who the writer was writing about. I persevered to the end, but I probably shouldn't have bothered.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful and atmospheric book which uses language to create both feeling and landscape. I would recommend this as a very good read.
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Format: Paperback
The novel opens with the unnamed central character following a road north along the coastline of South Africa. We assume that he is on the run - he avoids passing vehicles and there is a sense of urgency in his movements. He is exhausted by the heat and the exertion of walking. When a car stops with a flat tyre, the driver calls him over. The driver is a minister on his way to a new church posting in a black township and offers the man a lift. Together they drive further north.

As they near the minister's destination, the car pulls over on some empty ground near a quarry. The pair share a couple of bottles of wine and some desultory conversation, and the minister encourages the man to give himself up to the authorities. When they get out of the car and walk to the quarry's edge, the minister makes sexual advances to the man (as ministers are wont to do) and the man reacts violently, killing the minister. He secretes the body in the quarry and eventually drives on to the town, intending to take on the minister's identity.

During the first night in the town, the car is burgled by two local brothers, Valentine and Small. They are petty thieves and also have a modest marijuana garden in the quarry. An assiduous policeman, Captain Mong, is determined to solve the burglary and closes in on the brothers, eventually capturing them as they burn some of the goods taken from the car. Police suspicions are further aroused by the presence of marijuana in the brothers' belongings. The captain's tenacity eventually leads to the dope garden in the quarry and then the dead body. Case solved, the captain assumes: clearly the two black brothers killed the man as well as committing the other crimes. The `minister' is not suspected - he is white after all.
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