cover image Jump and Other Stories

Jump and Other Stories

Nadine Gordimer. Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc, $20 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-374-18055-3

Written with consummate artistry, this South African writer's latest collection of short fiction illuminates her concerns about the human consequences of political repression. Gordimer ( A Sport of Nature ; Something Out There ; The Essential Gesture ) is a member of the African National Congress, vice-president of PEN International and an executive member of the Congress of South African Writers, and actively opposes censorship in South Africa. All of these involvements color her fiction, yet these stories are far from mere politically correct mouthpieces. In 16 tales, most with a South African setting, Gordimer explores the ironies and values of human relations and expectations with a deft and frequently poignant touch. In ``Safe Houses'' a revolutionary finds sanctuary and a surprising connection in the home of a surburban socialite. ``The Moment Before the Gun Went Off'' gives us an astonishing revelation of the ironic truth behind the accidental death of a black farmhand in the truck of a white farmer. An innocent love plays a role in revolutionary destruction and mayhem in ``Some Are Born to Sweet Delight.'' Gordimer has rarely been more profound or more quietly brilliant than in these exquisitely subtle stories, whose power is equal to a thousand manifestos. (Sept.)