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I have to state up front that from the first paragraph, I did not enjoy the style in which this book was written It irritated me.Nadine Gordimer is an incredible icon of South African literature, and although this review might come across as disrespectful, it was my honest reaction to reading the book.I found this work difficult to read contrived The redeeming feature of the book, for me, was that it caused me to once again consider some of the sad realities of life, and specifically the brokenness of family ties, in South Africa my home.It is a pity that the book failed to capture my senses The narrative style the author adopted did not allow me to relate to any of the characters A book can only hope to reach its audience through the use of plain and accessible illustration It is through causing the audience to identify with the humanity of each character involved, that the writer can convey a message.This story was like a detached description of events, rendered in a disjointed and, at times, deliberately sterile, or at times deliberately chaotic style.It s like an art film that went too far so as to become untouchable.Sometimes the artistic filming style actually kills the story being told Have you ever seen a movie that was filmed with a shaky documentary style It makes it plain old too hard to follow.This book was like that, the style the author used actually got in the way of simply telling the story.There are moments where the author s unquestionable brilliance is allowed to shine through.The ending is particularly disappointing difficult to understand and unravel Over my head perhaps Could I respectfully ask that the director please refrain from shaking the camera , so the audience can actually see what s going on Observations of a South African professional couple whose son admits to murder and hires a black attorney during the time when the courts were deciding upon the legality of capital punishment While Gordimer s descriptions of thoughts and emotions most of us have are spot on, she writes with such remoteness that I found myself not caring about the characters or the outcome of the story After taking a break from the book I finished it with enthusiasm in part due to the fact that I decided the author s emotional removal was intentional, in part because the last few chapters actually have some action in them, and finally because I was not able to let such a slim little book get me down. This book keeps the reader at such a distance from the story that I never connected with the characters or their situation First of all, the focus of the story is on the parents of a man who has murdered one of his close friends over a woman The parents know little about their son s life and even less about his relationship with the victim and the woman the feud was over Instead, much of the book focuses on the parents as they grapple with how a person they had raised could possibly have taken a human life The father is a devout Christian and the mother is a medical doctor who has devoted her career to preserving life I could accept this particular line of questioning for a while, but for me it went overboard and made me dislike the parents quite a bit It felt to me like they were making themselves and the son s betrayal of them the main issue while a man who they don t seem even remotely interested in knowing anything about, lies dead I also didn t like how the characters were drawn I didn t feel we were shown much about the parents, but instead were told how they felt told how their feelings changed toward each other and their son I never got much of an impression of how they felt about their son at all He seemed like a product the two had produced rather than a person in their eyes And I also really hated the complete lack of quotation marks and speaker tags I don t know why all the Nobel Prize winning writers I ve read lately have such an aversion to punctuation quotation marks especially. Unfortunately, I found the novel thematically and stylistically clunky the key characters and their concerns never fully engage or seem plausible the syntactical handling of direct speech is unnecessarily confusing and there is an intrusive authorial presence The novel is set in post apartheid South Africa and provides a glimpse into the emerging dialogues about race, gender, culture and politics In particular, it touches on white anxiety concerning the developing black political and economic class at the birth of the Rainbow Nation Sadly, this social context is sketchily drawn and is primarily encapsulated in the role reversal of an articulate and highly educated black man their London educated Barrister, Motsamai holding the fate of three white middle class South Africans in his hands Motsamai may be seen as a broader reference to that other South African lawyer, Nelson Mandela.Fundamentally, there is a moral lacunae at the heart of the novel the parents moral introspection is self absorbed and self serving they never demonstrate any concern, understanding, or compassion for the victim and his family and friends I assume this is deliberate on Gordimer s part and this may be seen as an indictment of those white South Africans who concerned themselves with their own well being rather than with the victims of the physical, economic and cultural devastation wrought by Apartheid In this sense, while not morally or politically equivalent, the victims of Apartheid were not only the black population but were also sections of the white population whose moral sensibilities were neutered, debased and blinkered to permit the human suffering and inequality of that white supremacist regime The novel raises many tantalizing questions about the personal and the political, reconciliation and the need to overcome old certainties and the need to embrace new uncertainties but for me the novel did not sing. At one level, as the title suggests, it is about the gun a symbol of the cycles of violence in society having a very personal impact Gordimer very explicitly recognises that these cycles have extended globally for millennia, even as she highlights South Africa s particular structural and personal violences But where it hit me hardest is the very personal What can be personal than your own child losing their way And what can be worse than killing another human being This is a portrait of a very comfortable, proper and loving couple and their son being torn apart The collapse is searing, as the most fundamental assumptions of love and faith and reason are ripped away from a quintessential liberal family Layers upon layers of pain and violence are laid bare In the end, there is a level of acceptance that it is what it is not altogether a pretty picture, but somehow we have to stitch together life and death, love and anger, despair and hope.Gordimer editorialises along the way One of her concerns is about liberalism Another is about restoring personal accountability in a situation apartheid South Africa where structural violence has been so massive for centuries that full personal accounting was not in question compared to state crime She reflects with anguish about the suspension of humane conventions in wars even when, as in South Africa, we were fighting against the inhumane structure and daily practice of apartheid violence She keeps wondering if the struggle time rejection of all that is humane somehow explains post apartheid violence from taxi violence to the love triangle in this story I don t think there is a pat answer and I felt as if Gordimer was a bit disappointed by this.I was touched by her examination of the liberal European rooted culture of holding emotional distance and space for others They show no emotion, just a distanced kindness towards one another Not for this family and the one I grew up in the weeping and wailing or ululating to mark the big disasters and triumphs of its loved ones with the twin consequences that their son goes extraordinarily deep in his explorations, while being deeply isolated from his family about what really matters in his life Before the book begins, Duncan had been exploring the complexities of both sexuality outside the tramlines, and the edges of suicidal madness, love and hatred of self and other and all his parents saw were occasional polite tea afternoons with their son and an apparently demure girlfriend He had not told them, the parents discover in their agony, the really important stuff Even though they promised him he could tell them anything and they would always be there for them For me the most powerful theme was this the tragedy of the limits of parenting and family. In her own unique style, Gordimer presents a taut portrait of a white South African mother and father dealing with the aftermath of a murder committed by their son, defended by a black lawyer in the criminal court in the post apartheid world The intricate web of relationships the son, his lover, his friend who has betrayed him and been killed, the parents, the lawyer is beautifully weaved, the dialogue sparse but revealing, the thoughts of each actor behind the voices and actions, compelling and intimate An excellent read, thank you Katherine and Paul Theroux, who introduced me to Gordimer s writing. This is a gripping story that will probably give me nightmares What happens to a privileged white couple when their son is accused of murder Harald and Claudia end up running into a long list of their own prejudices and things they have never managed to discuss.I especially liked the way the couple went through their son s murder trial without a sense of time passing page 182 All around the curious, who may or may not be able to identify the parents Within the whispering, shuffle and creak, they are not obvious among strangers as for themselves, their is a single identity they now have that years of marriage never achieved There is only this court, this time, this existence, mother father. *DOWNLOAD ↷ The House Gun ⇴ A House Gun, Like A House Cat A Fact Of Ordinary Life, Today How Else Can You Defend Yourself Against Losing Your Hi Fi Equipment, Your TV Set And Computer The Respected Executive Director Of An Insurance Company, Harald, And His Doctor Wife, Claudia, Are Faced With Something That Could Never Happen To Them Their Son, Duncan, Has Committed Murder What Kind Of Loyalty Do A Mother And Father Owe A Son Who Has Committed The Unimaginable Horror How Could He Have Ignored The Sanctity Of Human Life What Have They Done To Influence His Character How Have They Failed Him Nadine Gordimer S New Novel Is A Passionate Narrative Of The Complex Manifestations Of That Final Test Of Human Relations We Call Love Between Lovers Of All Kinds, And Parents And Children It Moves With The Restless Pace Of Living Itself If It Is A Parable Of Present Violence, It Is Also An Affirmation Of The Will To Reconciliation That Starts Where It Must, Between Individual Men And Women About AuthorNadine Gordimer 20 November 1923 13 July 2014 was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature.About BookI picked this book because Nadine Gordimer once took me on The Ultimate Safari Find the pdf of story here It was a chapter in class X during my time I found the chapter thrilling and specially the character of grandmother who is shown of audacity and wisdom Another reason was that the Noble laureate had died recently July 2014 So to appreciate her writings better I chose this book available in library at my disposal.It is a story of a family where the only child has committed a murder and has accepted himself to be guilty of the charges I wanted to know how do parents handle such situations, one of vicarious experiences which I always try to extract Apart from initial few chapters, I dragged myself to the end of first part But coming to the second part was where thrill starts and courtroom drama unfolds I think we all get enthralled by courtroom proceedings This was my third such book To kill A Mocking Bird The Fountainhead are the other two The book was written around 1996, maybe then there was a movement to ban capital punishment Capital punishment in South Africa was abolished on 6 June 1995 So it has views both in favour and against it Also, the story revolves around utopian concept of same sex relationships You may be surprised to know that South Africa has championed Capital punishment abolishment June 1996 and no discrimination based on sexual orientation May 1996 India is yet to take modern views on these issues.The second half of the book grasps reader strongly and the cycles of hope and despair put reader on the edge of chair It was a good read to know what I would miss badly, god forbid, if incarcerated, is Music Characters 1 Harald Financial Advisor, Father, White 2 Claudia Doctor, Mother, White 3 Duncan Lingard Son, Architect, White 4 Natalie James Girlfriend 5 David Baker6 Carl Jesperson deceased 7 Hamilton Motsamai Black Senior Counsellor in court 8 Khulu Black adopted son of Harald and Claudia I wish I had read this book together with someone.As far as I can remember, this was the first work I read by Gordimer Her writing is demanding, not easily accessible There are many words, sometimes too many and the style is bulky and distant.Nevertheless, this book has drawn me in relatively quickly But it also challenged me and I was not always sure why Gordimer has presented to me what I found in there Was it meant as a provocation Or even as a kind of satire on the South African society of that time And I had my problems with some of its parts The book shows homophobia and racism through the behaviour and statements of some characters But there are also phrases that are formulated from a narrative perspective, and these not only serve clich s, they also paint a very one dimensional picture of homosexuality.This book has impressed me, both by his topic and by the quality of the writing But in the end, this aftertaste has made me rating it lower than I probably would have otherwise.