Synopses & Reviews
When Julie Summers's car breaks down on a sleazy street in a South African city, a young Arab mechanic named Abdu comes to her aid. Their attraction to one another is fueled by different motives. Julie is in rebellion against her wealthy background and her father; Abdu, an illegal immigrant, is desperate to avoid deportation to his impoverished country. In the course of their relationship, there are unpredictable consequences, and overwhelming emotions will overturn each one's notion of the other. Set in the new South Africa and in an Arab village in the desert, The Pickup
is "a masterpiece of creative empathy . . . a gripping tale of contemporary anguish and unexpected desire, and it also opens the Arab world to unusually nuanced perception" (Edward W. Said).
"As Julie Summers' car breaks down in a slum of Cape Town, South Africa, a turbulent love affair begins when Abdul, an illegal Arab immigrant, offers to help. Julie's white and wealthy family disapproves of Abdul—who soon faces deportation—in a quiet but firm way. Julie and Abdul marry, fly to a nameless Arab country where Abdul's family welcomes them. There, among her modest and strongly unified Muslim in-laws, Julie finds the comfort and sense of belonging that always eluded her; meanwhile, Abdul's desperate longing for social elevation in the Western World, has dangerously intensified. The Pickup offers a realistic, unsentimental look at individuals torn apart by the love that united them as its 'acceptance' also brought about 'the authority to impose conditions.' With its densely colorful characters, its precise and lush narration, the 1991 Nobel Prize winner's latest novel is one that enthralls, surprises and delights." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"Without romanticism, Gordimer dramatizes the paradox of privilege....It's the places that make the story so compelling, and Gordimer captures the contrasts in the beat of her prose....Even on the last page, Gordimer is still surprising us about the search for home." Hazel Rochman, Booklist (Starred Review)
Set in the new South Africa and in an Arab village in the desert, this is a gripping tale of contemporary anguish and unexpected desire from a Nobel Prize-winning writer.
About the Author
Nadine Gordimer is the author of twelve previous novels, as well as several collections of stories and essays. Her most recent work includes The House Gun, Jump and Other Short Stories, and My Son's Story. She has received many awards, including the Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature.