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My Son's Story

A Novel

Nadine Gordimer

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Will, the narrator of this powerfully charged novel, discovers that his father, a political activist and local hero in their South African town, has become involved with a white woman. Wrenching, passionate, deeply resonant, My Son's Story evokes the inexorable yoking of the personal life and politics with uniquely moving force.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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My Son's Story
You had a Father, let your son say so. 
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARESonnet 13Copyright © 1990 by Felix Licensing BV All rights reserved
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REVIEWS

Praise for My Son's Story

“A bold, unnerving tour de force . . . brilliantly suggestive and knowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Nadine Gordimer has given us a work of bleak beauty and enormous force.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“Gordimer has taken South Africa's tragedy and laid the truth of it in our laps. The story she tells is lucid and achingly alive.”—The Boston Sunday Globe
 
"The moral urgency that informs Nadine Gordimer's novels and stories endows them with a virtue distinct from their literary merits. Her subject is the agony of South Africa; her theme, the corruption that leads *Bigoted rulers, but its reformers as well . . . A brave writer, she has. over the decades and at some risk to herself, combined a layered moral vision with an acute apprehension of how people react to a cruel and self-destructive society." —Newsweek
 
"A thoughtful, poised, quietly poignant novel that... recognizes the value and cost of political commitment."—The Christian Science Monitor
 
"Although all of Gordimer's novels are written from a political point of view—as an opponent of apartheid and all its work—her intelligence is too subtle, her imagination too exact, to allow her to produce a merely political novel . . . My Son's Story maintains the finest balance of sympathies."—The Independent (London)

"The turmoil in South Africa leaves no member of a decorous colored family untouched, as the schoolmaster husband turns activist and lover. Gordimer is perceptive, unflinching, and sympathetic"—The Observer (London)
 
"If one were never to read any other literature about South Africa, Gordimer's work should be enough. For more than thirty years she has delineated each shift and change in the system in [her] novels and short stories that intertwine the personal with the political. As a literary keeper of records, she has no peer."—The Sunday Times (London)
 
“Beautifully felt, both in its anger and its compassion. It is so rich as to make praise superfluous, so vital and disturbing as to send us . . . back into the world, with a heightened sense of what life in it might mean.”USA Today
 
"A remarkable novel—tough, unsentimental, moving in the extreme."The Daily Mail (London)
 
"A bleak, powerful novel of issues . . . This book radiates strength, personality, intelligence, and commitment."—The Sunday Telegraph (London)
 
''My Son's Story, about a colored South African family ravaged by the father's affair with a white human rights advocate, probes with breathtaking power and precision the complexities of 'love, love/hate,' and the interplay of public and private reality. . . . Gordimer retains perfect control over her material, rendering her characters' shifting perspectives with truly extraordinary empathy and discernment. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
 
"Gordimer delivers her most perceptive and powerful novel in years. The story of a man's evolution as a political activist and the toll it takes on his family and on him, it is also a picture of a marriage and of an extramarital affair, set against a backdrop of daily life in segregated South Africa, even as the winds of change begin to blow. The novel is eloquent in its understated prose and anguished understanding of moral complexities."—Publishers Weekly
“A bold, unnerving tour de force . . . brilliantly suggestive and knowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Nadine Gordimer has given us a work of bleak beauty and enormous force.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“Gordimer has taken South Africa's tragedy and laid the truth of it in our laps. The story she tells is lucid and achingly alive.”—The Boston Sunday Globe
 
"The moral urgency that informs Nadine Gordimer's novels and stories endows them with a virtue distinct from their literary merits. Her subject is the agony of South Africa; her theme, the corruption that leads *Bigoted rulers, but its reformers as well . . . A brave writer, she has. over the decades and at some risk to herself, combined a layered moral vision with an acute apprehension of how people react to a cruel and self-destructive society." —Newsweek
 
"A thoughtful, poised, quietly poignant novel that... recognizes the value and cost of political commitment."—The Christian Science Monitor
 
"Although all of Gordimer's novels are written from a political point of view—as an opponent of apartheid and all its work—her intelligence is too subtle, her imagination too exact, to allow her to produce a merely political novel . . . My Son's Story maintains the finest balance of sympathies."—The Independent (London)

"The turmoil in South Africa leaves no member of a decorous colored family untouched, as the schoolmaster husband turns activist and lover. Gordimer is perceptive, unflinching, and sympathetic"—The Observer (London)
 
"If one were never to read any other literature about South Africa, Gordimer's work should be enough. For more than thirty years she has delineated each shift and change in the system in [her] novels and short stories that intertwine the personal with the political. As a literary keeper of records, she has no peer."—The Sunday Times (London)
 
“Beautifully felt, both in its anger and its compassion. It is so rich as to make praise superfluous, so vital and disturbing as to send us . . . back into the world, with a heightened sense of what life in it might mean.”USA Today
 
"A remarkable novel—tough, unsentimental, moving in the extreme."The Daily Mail (London)
 
"A bleak, powerful novel of issues . . . This book radiates strength, personality, intelligence, and commitment."—The Sunday Telegraph (London)
 
''My Son's Story, about a colored South African family ravaged by the father's affair with a white human rights advocate, probes with breathtaking power and precision the complexities of 'love, love/hate,' and the interplay of public and private reality. . . . Gordimer retains perfect control over her material, rendering her characters' shifting perspectives with truly extraordinary empathy and discernment. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
 
"Gordimer delivers her most perceptive and powerful novel in years. The story of a man's evolution as a political activist and the toll it takes on his family and on him, it is also a picture of a marriage and of an extramarital affair, set against a backdrop of daily life in segregated South Africa, even as the winds of change begin to blow. The novel is eloquent in its understated prose and anguished understanding of moral complexities."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Nadine Gordimer

  • Nadine Gordimer, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991, is the author of fourteen novels, nine volumes of stories, and three nonfiction collections. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Nadine Gordimer Copyright Maureen Isaacson
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Available Formats and Book Details

My Son's Story

A Novel

Nadine Gordimer

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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