A Review of ‘The Pickup’ by Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize and the Booker Prize.
 
This book has been recommended for discussion by the Great Books Foundation, who have published a free discussion guide.
 
Nadine Gordimer is a South African writer who has been writing fantastic books about people and about life since the eighties.  She has chronicled Black Africa through the independence struggles and post-colonialism.  She has accurately described the complicated sociey of South Africa under apartheid, and then through the Nelson Mandela era, to the present day.  The shifting of attitudes and power bases throughout the years makes for fascinating reading.  She is a Jewess, a liberal writer whose books were at one time time banned in SA, and in my estimation one of the most observant and cogent of contemporary writers.
 
At the age of 88, she has written one of her best books ever.  I seem to have grown up with her in the same way as with John Le Carre.  Her death will be like Hemingway’s death — ‘These are all the books.  There will be no more now.’  A Guest of Honour was a great comfort in Tanzania, and her other Southern hemisphere books were a great pleasure to read whilst living the UK.
 
So, in 2001 (pre-9/11), she wrote this book about South-North migration, illegal aliens, and the Arab world view!
 
This is what Edward Said says about it: "A masterpiece of creative empathy… a gripping tale of contemporary anguish and unexpected desire, it also opens the Arab world to unusually nuanced perception." 
 
There could be no better recommendation than Edward Said.  Perhaps I could call it ‘Syriana’ from a woman’s perspective.  But very human, very personal, and very very good.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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