Writing and Being by Nadine Gordimer

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Whether talking about her own writing, interpreting the works of others, or giving us a window on the world that "we in South Africa are attempting to reconstruct," Nadine Gordimer has much to tell us about the art of fiction and the art of life.

In this deeply resonant book Gordimer examines the tension for a writer between life's experiences and narrative creations. She asks first, where do characters come from--to what extent are they drawn from real life? We are touching on this question whenever we insist on the facts behind the fiction, Gordimer suggests, and here she tries to unravel the mysterious process that breathes "real" life into fiction. Exploring the writings of revolutionaries in South Africa, she shows how their struggle is contrastingly expressed in factual accounts and in lyrical poetry. Gordimer next turns to three writers linked by their search for a life that transcends their own time and place: in distinctive and telling ways, Naguib Mahfouz, Chinua Achebe, and Amos Oz defy accepted norms of loyalty to the mores and politics of their countries. Their search in Egypt, Nigeria, and Israel for a meaningful definition of home testifies to what it must be: the destination of the human spirit beyond national boundaries. Ending on a personal note, Gordimer reveals her own experience of "writing her way out of" the confines of a dying colonialism.


About Nadine Gordimer

See more books from this Author
Nadine Gordimer was born in Gauteng, South Africa on November 20, 1923. She attended the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa for one year. She is a novelist and short-story writer whose major theme is exile and alienation. Her first short story collection, The Soft Voice of the Serpent, was published in 1952 and her first novel, The Lying Days, was published in 1953. Her other short story collections include Jump, Why Haven't You Written: Selected Stories 1950-1972, and Loot. Her other novels include A World of Strangers, A Guest of Honour, Burger's Daughter, July's People, A Sport of Nature, My Son's Story, None to Accompany Me, The Pickup, and Get a Life. She has received numerous awards including the Booker Prize for The Conservationist in 1974, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, and the French Legion of Honour in 2007. She died on July 13, 2014 at the age of 90.
Published August 18, 1995 by Harvard University Press. 145 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Writing and Being

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

For her, writing is like ``Primo Levi's metamir, in which a metaphysical mirror does not obey the law of optics but reproduces your image as it is seen by the person who stands before you.'' The writer is such a person and receives intimations, usually hidden, of what you areintimations that beco...

| Read Full Review of Writing and Being

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Drawing on lectures delivered at Harvard, Nobel laureate Gordimer, musing on the links between life and literature, offers some fascinating personal reflections as well as thoughts on fellow writers in South Africa and other countries.

| Read Full Review of Writing and Being

Rate this book!

Add Review