Masterly new fiction from the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature
A startling new work: ten fictions, each a revelation of our interior lives, each entering unforeseen contexts of our contemporary world. In the title story, an earthquake exposes both an ocean bed strewn with treasure among the dead and the avarice of the town's survivors. In "The Diamond Mine," a woman recalls her youthful surreptitious sexual initiation, while she and her parents chauffeured a young soldier to his wartime embarkation. The anopleles mosquito brings death to the saunas and other playgrounds of the developed world in "The Emissary." "Mission Statement" is the story of a development agency official's idealism, the ghosts of colonial history, and a love affair with a government official that ends astoundingly. "The Generation Gap" turns the "gap" upside down when a father's bid for freedom shocks his adult children. In "Homage," one of Europe's aliens visits the grave of the politician he was paid to assassinate. In "Karma," Gordimer's inventiveness knows no bounds: in five returns to the earthly life, taking on different ages and genders, a disembodied narrator testifies to unfinished business--critically, wittily--and questions the nature of existence.
Once upon our time, there was an earthquake: but this one is the most powerful ever recorded since the invention of the Richter scale made it possible for us to measure apocalyptic warnings.
Praise for Loot
“Composed of diverse pieces, from novellas to near fragments, [this] is a volume whose cohesion lies in its engagement with death . . . At times ironic, at others enraged, defiant or rueful, the work gathered here reflects the unflinching ferocity of its author's imagination.” —Claire Messud, The New York Times
“These stories are rarely easy. Their language is swift, often fiercely compressed. Gordimer flouts conventions of syntax, requiring the reader to reconstruct sentences. But she possesses ample creative energy to lead you through them all, and the best of them, without frank teaching, are dulce and utile both.” —Jonathan Penner, The Washington Post
“This compelling collection presents a bleak view of human existence in general and of Africa's colonial past in particular. Written with a sharp sense of irony, it should be a part of every fiction collection.” —Rebecca Stuhr, Grinnell College Libraries, Library Journal
“The collision of personal and political agendas and ideals is analyzed with radiant precision and wit in [Gordimer's] ninth collection: eight adamantine stories and two ambitious novellas . . . Gordimer can still deliver a rabbit punch to the solar plexus as efficiently as anybody now writing. Maybe they should give her the Nobel Prize again.” —Kirkus Reviews