cover image The Essential Gesture

The Essential Gesture

Nadine Gordimer, Nadine Cordimer. Knopf Publishing Group, $19.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-394-57397-7

Collected here are 23 biographical and autobiographical pieces, reviews, travelogues and analytical essays on writing, censorship and South African politics. They date from an article written in 1963, in which Gordimer recalls how her writing career began, to one from 1985 which includes her assessment of the states of mind and ways of life in today's South Africa. From these essays emerges a history of changing life under apartheid, the transformations in Gordimer's sense of identity as well as the constancy of her conviction and approach, the reality and ambiguity of her marginality, the daily compromises and contradictions in her situation, her quest for a wholeness of vision. These pieces are eloquent testimony to the fact that, over the last three decades, this fine novelist and short-story writer has been at the center of developments in her homeland``a writer working through the political implications of her writing, writing about the implications of politics.'' (Nov.)