The Pickup

A Novel

Nadine Gordimer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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The Nobel Laureate's psychologically penetrating story of the love affair between a rich South African and the illegal alien she "picks up" on a whim

Who picked up whom? Is the pickup the illegal immigrant desperate to evade deportation to his impoverished desert country? Or is the pickup the powerful businessman's daughter trying to escape a priveleged background she despises? When Julie Summers' car breaks down in a sleazy street, at a garage a young Arab emerges from beneath the chassis of a vehicle to aid her. The consequences develop as a story of unpredictably relentless emotions that overturn each one's notion of the other, and of the solutions life demands for different circumstances. She insists on leaving the country with him. The love affair becomes a marriage-that state she regards as a social convention appropriate to her father's set and her mother remarried in California, but decreed by her 'grease monkey' in order to present her respectably to his family.

In the Arab village, while he is dedicated to escaping, again, to what he believes is a fulfilling life in the West, she is drawn by a counter-magnet of new affinities in his close family and the omnipresence of the desert.

A novel of great power and concision, psychological surprises and unexpected developments, The Pickup is a story of the rites of passage that are emigration/immigration, where love can survive only if stripped of all certainties outside itself.

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Book Excerpts

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Clustered predators round a kill. It's a small car with a young woman inside it. The battery has failed and taxis, cars, minibuses, vans, motorcycles butt and challenge one another, reproach and curse her, a traffic mob mounting its own confusion. Get going. Stupid bloody woman. Idikazana lomlungu, le! She throws up hands, palms open, in surrender. They continue to jostle and blare their impatience. She gets out of her car and faces them. One of the unemployed black men who beg by waving vehicles into parking bays sidles his way deftly through fenders, signals with his head--Oka-ay, Oka-ay

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Praise for The Pickup

Gordimer is one of the great living writers.
--Carey Harrison, San Francisco Chronicle

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About the Author

Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer is the author of 12 previous novels as well as numerous collections of stories and essays, all published by FSG; her most recent work includes None to Accompany Me (1994) and The House Gun (1998), both novels, and Living in Hope and History (2000), a collection of her reminiscences. She has received many awards, including the Booker Prize (for The Conservationsist, in 1974) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nadine Gordimer

Copyright Maureen Isaacson
Nadine Gordimer

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Pickup
A Novel
Nadine Gordimer

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ALA Notable Books - Winner

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
September 2001
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374707484
ISBN10: 0374707480
224 pages
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
February 2013
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250024046
ISBN10: 1250024048
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages
$16.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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