In a Strange Room - Damon Galgut I finished In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut. Wow. The book centers on a fictional character, yet Galgut refers to him as both 'he' and 'I' at various points in the text, making it feel like it's really not fiction at all, but rather autobiographical. It also makes you feel close to the main character, then very far away, & back again. He also doesn't use traditional punctuation (i.e., quotes, question marks), but it fits perfectly w/ the flow of his narrative.

The prose seems simple enough, telling 3 separate stories of a South African backpacker's travels in the world & the people he encounters/is with/drifts away from on these trips. He's an astute observer of humans, himself especially, & has a fine touch at conveying the myriad emotions of travel, encountering others (some good, some bad), the lonliness, the musings of someone traveling alone w/ no specific schedule or destination in mind. Overall, there is a melancholy tone to the book, yet it's riveting, simple, and straight-forward at the same time.

I love to travel, though I've never really done backpacking per se. Reading this book makes me wish American culture in general embraced this idea more (which seems so prevalent in many European countries & various other countries as well). It's not just a journey to a place, it's a journey through oneself.