Tag Archives: Book reviews

July’s People by Nadine Gordimer

I may have mentioned that I attend a book group. Apparently it is the trendy thing to do but I didn’t know that when I agreed to go. I liked the women involved and I like reading so there was nothing to lose (I also like to drink wine and gin and tonic – not that that influenced my decision).

We have read some interesting books, including 50 Shades of Grey, A Tale of Two Cities, The White Queen, Three Cups of Tea, How to be a Woman, other books I can’t bring to mind at the moment and something by Joanna Trolope that I was not that impressed by until I heard the others rave about it. Depending on the story I generally find the writing more important than the observation and this book was about astute observation. I stood corrected.

I have just finished July’s People and was so moved by it that I feel I must laud it here.

It is the story of a micro-period in the lives of a white South African family taken in by their servant, July, during the breakdown of White Power in the country. They live in his village and the children are assimilated into the culture. The woman instinctively understands the way of the village and of her former servant and the man becomes as a stranger to her as they apply their different attitudes to their new surroundings.

The writing takes a bit of getting used to as the punctuation is pretty non-existent. This makes one concentrate on the most beautiful and evocative words. It is impossible to hurry; a bit like reading poetry. The final chapter is breath-takingly beautiful and I commend it to my two readers.