Synopses & Reviews
You're not responsible for your ancestry, are you . . . But if that's so, why have marched under banned slogans, got yourself beaten up by the police, arrested a couple of times; plastered walls with subversive posters . . . The past is valid only in relation to whether the present recognizes it.
In this collection of new stories Nadine Gordimer crosses the frontiers of politics, memory, sexuality, and love with the fearless insight that is the hallmark of her writing. In the title story a middle-aged academic who had been an anti-apartheid activist embarks on an unadmitted pursuit of the possibilities for his own racial identity in his great-grandfather's fortune-hunting interlude of living rough on diamond diggings in South Africa, his young wife far away in London. Dreaming of the Dead conjures up a lunch in a New York Chinese restaurant where Susan Sontag and Edward Said return in surprising new avatars as guests in the dream of a loving friend. The historian in History is a parrot who confronts people with the scandalizing voice reproduction of quarrels and clandestine love-talk on which it has eavesdropped.Alternative Endings considers the way writers make arbitrary choices in how to end stories--and offers three, each relating the same situation, but with a different resolution, arrived at by the three senses: sight, sound, and smell.
“ As she always has, Gordimer offers her readers a rare combination of intimacy and transcendence.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Rich . . . with invention, insight, and artistry.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"Novelists often declare the absolute sovereignty of the imagination. They are free -- so they say -- to roam where they will, to turn night to day, tall to thin, early to late. Occasionally they acknowledge the liberties they take, boast of their courage, or trumpet their indifference to historical fact. More often they say nothing of their departures from the official record or established truths, arranging, distorting, revising as if they had never doubted their freedom to make of "reality" a more or less plausible, or implausible, representation." Nadine Gordimer, Harper's Magazine (read the entire Harper's Magazine review)
In this collection of new stories, Gordimer crosses the frontiers of politics, memory, sexuality, and love with the fearless insight that is the hallmark of her writing.
Always exploring the boundaries of race, identity, politics, memory, sexuality, and love with fearless insight and deep compassion, Nadine Gordimer has produced another masterpiece of short fiction. From a former anti-apartheid activists search for his own racial identity by tracing his great-grandfathers part in South Africas diamond industry to a parrot that scandalizes people with repetitions of their quarrels and clandestine love-talk, this new collection of stories eloquently probes how people are never free from their past nor spared from loss.
About the Author
Nadine Gordimer is the author of eleven previous novels, as well as collections of stories and essays. She has received many awards, including the Booker Prize (for The Conservationist in 1974) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.