Nadine Gordimer and Europe-in-Africa
It is perhaps early to pronounce on the significance of A Guest of Honour1 in relation to Miss Gordimer’s oeuvre. It is her longest and most ambitious novel; it is about politics and personal relationships; its broad outlines are bold and make a recognisable shape, but in detail its design is close and intricate. Caution over making uninhibited judgments at such close quarters in time need not prevent one from stating two obvious parallels: if the book is the African novel’s Nostromo, it is also Miss Gordimer’s personal Middlemarch. In it she triumphantly routs the problems characteristic of South African novelists with which she has always had to grapple, such as the unself-conscious rendition of black characters, and allows herself a much more confident and explicit statement of the values she regards as permanent against a background of bewilderment and instability.
KeywordsSouth AFRICAN Wilful Ignorance Black Character District Commissioner Token Violence
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- 1.Nadine Gordimer, A Guest of Honour (London: Jonathan Cape, 1971).Google Scholar