On her deathbed, the matriarch of the Swart family makes her husband promise that he will give their loyal, Black servant, Salome, the dilapidated home she has been living in forever in rural South Africa. Amor, the matriarch’s youngest child and the husband are the only two who have heard the promise, but Amor relates the deathbed wish to everyone. As each family member dies, the promise continues to be ignored.
The 2021 winner of The Man Booker Prize, The Promise, is an extremely satisfying read. It explores South Africa during and after apartheid artistically through character and plot development. There is a lot to be discussed in The Promise-both in writing style and what does and doesn’t happen in the novel.