In the Beginning Was the Sea

In the Beginning Was the Sea by Tomás González

The young intellectuals J. and Elena leave behind their comfortable lives, the parties and the money in Medellín to settle down on a remote island. Their plan is to lead the Good Life, self-sufficient and close to nature. But from the very start, each day brings small defeats and imperceptible dramas, which gradually turn paradise into hell, as their surroundings inexorably claim back every inch of the ‚civilisation‘ they brought with them.

Based on a true story, In the Beginning Was the Sea is a dramatic and searingly ironic account of the disastrous encounter of intellectual struggle with reality—a satire of hippyism, ecological fantasies, and of the very idea that man can control fate.

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Pushkin Collection (February 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1782270416

About the Author

Tomás GonzálezTomás González (b. 1950 in Medellin, Colombia) studied philosophy, then became barman in a Bogotá nightclub, whose owner published González’s In the Beginning Was the Sea (translated into German, French and now for the first time into English) in 1983. He also lived in Miami and New York, where he wrote much of his work, while making a living as a translator. After twenty years in the U.S., he returned to Colombia where he now lives. His many novels include La Storia de Horacio (translated into French) and La Luz Difficil (translated into German, French and Dutch).

Frank Wynne is an Irish translator and writer. His translation of Frédéric Beigbeder’s Windows on the World won the 2005 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. He has also won the 2008 Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for translation from the French and the 2012 Premio Valle Inclán for Spanish Translation.

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The Good Doctor

the-good-doctorby Damon Galgut

Taut, spare, and compellingly readable, The Good Doctor is a brilliant literary high-wire act short enough to be devoured in one or two sittings. When Laurence Waters arrives at the small rural hospital in a South African homeland where Frank works, Frank is immediately suspicious. Everything about Laurence grates on Frank, from his smoking in their shared room, to his unfamiliar optimism about what the doctors can truly accomplish among the local population—but Laurence seems oblivious, immediately and repeatedly declaring Frank his friend despite the other’s indifference. Frank originally came to the hospital to get his bearings after his wife left him for his best friend—but denial of the higher-level post he was promised when he came, and the disillusionment of working at a completely ineffectual hospital (it’s always deserted, an entire wing closed off and gradually being looted of any reusable equipment lacks basic supplies), has hardened him into cynical apathy—which makes Laurence’s optimism all the more irritating… (Source: Amazon)

Like most elements of this slim, absorbing novel set in post-apartheid South Africa, the title is ambiguous. The narrator, Frank, is a doctor, but, to judge from our first impression, not a good one. After the collapse of his marriage, he has retreated to a hospital in a rural backwater. His uneventful existence is disturbed by the arrival of Laurence, a young doctor eager to help the poor black inhabitants of the surrounding villages. The two men develop an uneasy friendship; Frank is both repelled and fascinated by this younger version of himself.

The novel shrewdly introduces thriller-like devices—a secret mistress, a male nurse with underworld ties—that put the two doctors to the test. In spare, declarative prose, Galgut spins a brisk and bracing story, but he’s also in pursuit of something murkier: the double-edged nature of doing good in a land where „the past has only just happened.“ (Source: The New Yorker)

About the Author

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, and The Impostor. The Good Doctor, published in 2003, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Dublin/IMPAC Award and was published in eighteen countries.

Damon Galgut lives in Cape Town. (Source: Man Booker website)

Buy this book!

This book is available for immediate purchase via these links to Amazon.com and Amazon.de; a percentage of your purchase comes right back to the site developer. Thanks for the support!

You can also find English books in Germany via our list of neighborhood bookstores.

Happy reading!