Nadine Gordimer has lived so long and accomplished so much there is no human response to her she has not received in uncounted multiples. She is South Africa’s most noble and Nobel white citizen. You can cut the cake anyway you like. The result is the same.
Her latest book is Telling Times: Writing and Living, 1954-2008, a collection of prose writing broken into decade segments. Some pieces are travel writing and reporting, essays on authors and political leaders, introductions to other author’s books, book reviews, and most importantly commentary on the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa within the collapse of colonialism across Africa.
As a privileged white in a society based on the repression of all other racial identities, and as a free writer stalked by complete censorship, she fought to claim a place for herself in the country that is her native home. She became the champion of all writers in and from South Africa, advocating for total political and cultural freedom. Her mantra is that imaginative writers should be free of all constraints to write about what is common in all of us–the human experience.
Most of the book is sharp and stirring. Little seems dated. When she wades deep into the theoretical issues of her topic, the writing slows down to a crawl. There is enough there to please any reader, so skip the crawl if it bothers you. Charles Marlin