No Time Like the Present

No Time Like the Present

Paperback - 2012
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Nadine Gordimer is one of our most telling contemporary writers. With each new work, she attacks--with a clear-eyed fierceness, a lack of sentimentality, and an understanding of the darkest depths of the human soul--her theme: the inextricable link between personal life and political, communal history. Revelation of this, not only in her homeland, South Africa, but in the twenty-first-century world, is fresh evidence of her literary genius: in the sharpness of her psychological insights, the stark beauty of her language,the complexity of her characters, and the difficult choices with which they are faced.

In No Time Like the Present , Gordimer brings the reader into the lives of Steven Reed and Jabulile Gumede, a "mixed" couple, both of whom have been combatants in the struggle for freedom against apartheid. Once clandestine lovers under a racist law forbidding sexual relations between white and black, they are now in the new South Africa, where freedom--the "better life for all" fought for, promised--is being created while challenged by political and racial tensions, the hangover of moral ambiguities that, along with the vast gap between affluence and mass poverty, haunts from the past. No freedom from personal involvement in these, in the personal intimacy of love.

The subject is contemporary, but Gordimer's treatment is, as ever, timeless. In No Time Like the Present , she shows herself once again a master novelist, at the height of her prodigious powers.

Publisher: Toronto : Hamish Hamilton, 2012.
ISBN: 9780143184072
Characteristics: 421 pages ;,23 cm.

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variegata
Nov 13, 2020

I really enjoyed reading this book, my first taste of Nadine Gordimer and
her latest (I think) novel. I was totally engrossed in the characters; the
reality of today's South Africa, so disillusioning; and the storytelling itself.
Yet I agree with sneha's comment about not being able to get past her
writing style. I was often tempted, in spite of the positives, to just give it
up; yet I persisted and in the end was glad I did. It's a fantastic story. I don't know if the writing style, which dispenses entirely, if I remember
correctly, with quotation marks and instead uses long dashes to introduce what someone is saying, but also seems to use these same marks in other places, is experimental on her part, or if she has written this way before. I must say that it was aggravating and confusing, and that I often had to read a passage two or three times and still sometimes didn't get it. So it must have been a hell of a good read for me to have persisted until the end. I learned an awful lot from this book.

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sneha
Aug 22, 2019

I found the content very interesting and Gordimer's observations about the human experience spot-on, but I could not get past her writing style, which I found overly difficult to read. I tried but wasn't able to finish it.

e
elinpat
Oct 14, 2012

Having read this novel a few months ago I wasn't surprised by the news of the tragic slaughter of the striking miners in South Africa.This is the story of a couple whose black/white marriage was once illegal, who worked for the victory of the ANC and who now find themselves members of a privileged middle class. As they watch the slow and painful improvements and the many political failures of their country they struggle with a decision to leave. The story is told as a sort of stream of consciousness of the people involved and as usual Gordimer does it brilliantly.

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uncommonreader
Jun 15, 2012

Brilliant. This novel is about post-1994 South Africa to the present day as told through the story of two Freedom Fighters by exposing the link between the personal and political. How does one live by one's principles? What are the responsibilities of people involved in a Struggle?

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