Arctic SummerDamon Galgut
1 January 2015
Published by Atlantic Books
6 March 2014
Published by Atlantic Books
In 1912, the SS Birmingham approaches India. On board is Morgan Forster, novelist and man of letters, who is embarking on a journey of discovery. As Morgan stands on deck, the promise of a strange new future begins to take shape before his eyes. The seeds of a story start to gather at the corner of his mind: a sense of impending menace, lust in close confines, under a hot, empty sky.
It will be another twelve years, and a second time spent in India, before A Passage to India, E. M. Forster’s great work of literature, is published. During these years, Morgan will come to a profound understanding of himself as a man, and of the infinite subtleties and complexity of human nature, bringing these great insights to his remarkable novel.
At once a fictional exploration of the life and times of one of Britain’s finest novelists – his struggle to find a way of living and being – and a stunningly vivid evocation of the mysterious alchemy of the creative process, Arctic Summer is a literary masterpiece, by one of the finest writers of his generation.
Could well be one of the finest literary works published this year... Damon Galgut, among the finest living writers, has not only given life to a quiet enigma who suffered in love but looked at the inspiration and need that helped that enigma write six major novels.
Beautifully written and utterly compelling... A vivid, moving account of the man that makes you want to read all his books again.
Galgut is extremely good on Forster's anxieties, his loneliness, his unworldliness... The portrait is beautifully nuanced, a mixture of bold, colourful strokes and delicate little flicks of the brush.
With insight and seemingly effortless fluidity, Mr Galgut has written a beautiful, and at times funny, novel that movingly captures the duality of one of Britain's most thoughtful authors.
It is a project to which Galgut, whose fiction has often covered the terrain of love, race and politics, seems perfectly suited as a writer... A remarkable, lyrical tribute.
Galgut has so seamlessly incorporated Forster's diaries, letters and novels into his narrative that it is often hard to tell which novelist is which.
A masterly piece of fiction. Delicate and detailed.
A beautifully imagined piece, getting deep inside the mind of a major English novelist.
Mail on Sunday
Galgut's gifts - of phrasing, of structure, of perception - are on faultless form in these pages... Arctic Summer is a masterpiece.
Sunday Business Post
How apt that Arctic Summer, a chronicle of a writer's longest journey to complete his masterpiece, also happens to be Galgut's finest book to date.
The Herald (Scotland)
Preoccupied by varieties of sadness - but is so crisply written, with a deceptive simplicity and directness, that it feels full of affirmationsSummer picks
His [E M Forster's] plight is beautifully captured by Damon Galgut in this plangent novel, rich in period detail... Forster springs four-square from the page.
Books of the Year, Daily Mail
With insight and seemingly effortless fluidity, Damon Galgut has written a beautiful and funny book that movingly captures the duality of E.M. Forster, one of Britain's most thoughtful novelists.
The Economist, Books of the Year
A compelling account of Forster's writing and of his sexual preoccupations and longings.
[A] perfectly judged and sensitively written novel
Scotland on Sunday