July's People

July s People For years it has been what is called a deteriorating situation Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds The members of the Smales family liberal whites are rescued from the terror by th

  • Title: July's People
  • Author: Nadine Gordimer
  • ISBN: 9780747578383
  • Page: 497
  • Format: Paperback
  • For years, it has been what is called a deteriorating situation Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds The members of the Smales family liberal whites are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his native village What happens to the Smaleses and to July the shifts in character and relationships gives us an uFor years, it has been what is called a deteriorating situation Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds The members of the Smales family liberal whites are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his native village What happens to the Smaleses and to July the shifts in character and relationships gives us an unforgettable look into the terrifying, tacit understandings and misunderstandings between blacks and whites About The Author Winner of many international awards, South African Nadine Gordimer was born in Springs, Transvaal and received her education at a convent school and at the University of the Witersand, Johannesburg, South Africa Gordimer novelist, short story writer, and essayist is one of South Africa s best known authors, and she is perhaps the country s most gifted contemporary novelist In her fiction Gordimer consistently attacks the system of apartheid from the standpoint of the white middle class Her stories show how some whites slowly awaken to the injustice and moral corruption of the system while others fail to see how the racial policy eats away at the moral basis of society Gordimer s narratives are rich in detail and precise observation She frequently uses a single well drawn event, incident, or scene to capture the sense of broad social decay she seeks to depict In an early work, The Late Bourgeois World 1966 , she expresses some cautious hope for the future of South Africa A Sport of Nature 1987 , her most recent novel, shows the development of a young, middle class, white woman into a political activist.

    One thought on “July's People”

    1. Nadine Gordimer is an award winning South African author of multiple books, and has won the prestigious Booker Prize. In July's People, Gordimer writes of the 1980 race riots in Johannesburg that wrestled the city out of white control. As the violence begins to escalate and the city begins to crumble, families ponder their future. Gordimer writes of the Smales family and their house servant named July, who rescues them and offers them hope moving forward. An upper class family, Bamford and Maure [...]

    2. All the troubles of apartheid-era South Africa are encapsulated in this slim and beautifully-written book. Just when you think that you know the situation, you understand what is going on, the Chief is introduced and you realise that looking at it from the point of view of the (white) Smales and the in-two-worlds view of their ex-'boy' is only the half of it. It's black against white, but not for liberation alone but for power.There are many reviews of the story of July's People. I am glad I did [...]

    3. The 5 stars you see flashing at you are not just any 5 stars. They are the end result of a whole day of deliberation. I happen to be one of those people who are not stingy with their ratings. If a book manages to bestow equal importance on both the prose and the message contained within in such a way that neither overshadows the other and both meld into a single entity of an unforgettable work of literature/fiction capable of whisking the reader away to a special place, then it can take my 5 sta [...]

    4. Sometimes a fictional account of what didn't happen to a country tells you more about its inhabitants than a history book ever could. What if South Africa had a different development? What if violence erupted and a liberal white family had to rely on their black servant to survive in his village, among his people? What would happen to their power balance, to their understanding of interracial relations, to their personal communication? Gordimer analyses the tiny details in suddenly changed mutua [...]

    5. This book was downright rough. It took a lot of googling and professor explanations to realize what was happening, because me and this writing style just did NOT click. That was the main downfall of this book, I definitely think: the writing was done so weirdly and awkwardly and hard to read. A lot of times, random lists and jagged sentences were thrown together, and with the dialogue having no speaker tags or even quotation marks, I was forced to get the audiobook just so that I could comprehen [...]

    6. The more I evolve as a reader, I find my five-star tastes vary from "the norm." But this doesn't deter me, for the way I read of Africa, is from the inside out. I read for texture and sound, for authenticity in 'voice.' These are all the things Gordimer does so well. When Gordimer writes of southern Africa, her characters embody post colonial strife, and her language is African rhythm: smooth, with strange sounds of syntax, with complexity embedded. July, your people. Even in my part of West Afr [...]

    7. July's People is about a past that never was. In our world, South Africa had managed a peaceful way out of apartheid and began the painful road to democracy. In July's People, South Africa turned out more like Zimbabwe, where the racial hierarchy broke down into a civil war.But that is only on the periphery of the story. We're far away from that now, and the news only comes in on scattered radio broadcasts. Our story is about the Smales family, who have fled their comfortable suburban homes and [...]

    8. At once you're a servant, living on the property of your Master(s) and then, when they need you the most, when they are thrust from their homes, left abandoned because of war, you are the one to be thankful for; not for your servitude, but for your caring nature, for your allegiance to a people that treated you well. This poses the question: When do leaders become followers? When they have no other choice.My first exposure to the Nobel Prize winning author Nadine Gordimer was at times an enlight [...]

    9. The author of this book, Nadine Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. I am of the opinion that all too often this is awarded on political or social grounds, not for the excellence of writing. The book does well draw the disintegrating situation in South Africa in the 1980s. Not merely the strikes, violence and abuses inflicted, but also the mistrust between the races. One sees both how the Blacks viewed Whites and the Whites viewed Blacks. What people said and what they thought. Y [...]

    10. Published in 1981 during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, Nadine Gordimer imagines a civil war where blacks overthrow whites. It's a fictional time of terrible violence where whites have to go into hiding to avoid being killed in Johannesburg. The Smales, a liberal white couple with three children, have employed July for fifteen years as a servant. They have treated him well so he takes the family to his rural black village to keep them safe.In the village, a master/servant role reve [...]

    11. Everything shines like blistering cobalt, cooper & gold: dialogue (precise and natural), character, prose, story, history, the resulting legend. "July's People" is all about tiny events that go all but unnoticed as whites and blacks try to hide from the civil war in 80's South Africa. The fractions of moments equal both salvation and apocalypse, & many times simultaneously. A huge question opens up above the whole enterprise. It is thought-provoking and meditative. The type of stuff to g [...]

    12. This novel is my 95th book in my quest to read all the 1,021 individual books included in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die - 2010 edition. I read somewhere that if you really get the very basic plot of all stories already written, they can be grouped into just a handful or so. I think this is true. Reading July's People made me remember the following novels (most of these are also 1001 books):I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou - because July's People is anti-apartheid too [...]

    13. In Gordimer's slightly-alternate South Africa, tensions between blacks and whites escalates until all-out violence erupts. Shops and buildings are blown up and the whites are fleeing - but even planes are being blown up as they take off, so how is a white family to escape? The Smales family - Bram and Maureen and their three young children, Victor, Gina and Royce - are rescued by their black servant, July, who leads them out of the city and through the countryside, dodging patrols of armed black [...]

    14. The crazy thing is that this is fiction: apartheid in South Africa somehow didn't end in war. People actually got together and said this isn't going to work, and they had an election, and Mandela won, and that was that. (This is the short version, okay?)So July's People is sortof science fiction. Written in 1981, about a decade before apartheid fell, it presents how Gordimer, a white anti-apartheid activist and a Nobel prize winner, predicted the fall would go. Her white protagonists (also anti- [...]

    15. I know, I know.I am supposed to have had some great cathartic experience from reading this book but it just did not happen. I don't particularly enjoy this style of writing. It seems disjointed and confusing and was like trying to read something written on a bumpy ride in the country. The story was okay, could see parts of where it was going. All in all, not enjoyable. I read it mainly because it was on my list of have to reads and I was very glad it was a short book and was very glad when I fin [...]

    16. Nadine Gordimer was easily one of the best writers in the world, and it was fitting that she garnered the most prestigious literary awards during her lifetime, including the Nobel. She had a long career in writing or producing an astonishing amount of fiction, short and long. The glittering quality of her writings stunned many readers.She created memorable characters in her work which was often weaved around the turbulent political and social mileau of her native South Africa. Many of her fellow [...]

    17. This is a brilliantly-written novella, though the style takes a little getting used to. The writing is densely packed with meaning but at the same time quite spare; every word and its placement counts.July’s People was first published in 1981, during the time of apartheid and unrest in South Africa, and it posited a violent near future for the country – one that did not, in the end, come to pass, but that might have under slightly different circumstances. A liberal white couple and their thr [...]

    18. Gordimer has a nuanced intelligence that is quite genuine. And the book is stylistically rich. Still, I found it claustrophobic, the entire story taking place in a tiny and narrow settlement, and the resolution ambiguous and unsatisfying. Others may find this much more to their tastes.

    19. This fiction novel was first published in 1981, thus 10 years before the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Therefore, at that time, it would have been considered a futuristic fiction about what would happen to the White South Africans if their fellow black citizens would engage in a civil war against them and would chase them away out of the country or just killed them like it had happened in other African countries. This novel follows a White couple and their 3 children, wealthy suburbans, civi [...]

    20. Okay, switching gears from "women who need to get married or they will end up destitute", here's a book from the more postcolonial end of the pile.July's People is set during the apartheid uprisings in South Africa, during the early 1980s, and one thing I really realized as I read was how ignorant I am about what all was going on at that point. I remember studying it in school a bit (there was a movie with Kalvin Klein with a South African accent?). The only other source of my information has be [...]

    21. you guys, this is a badass book. i actually think it would be an interesting companion piece to "home," because it is also about whiteness and racial constructions (among other things) as expressed through interpersonal relationships. but whereas home left me feeling sort of weepy and moved, "july's people" left me feeling incredibly tense and out of sortse story is set in rural South Africa, where the white, upper-class, liberal Smales family has fled to temporary safety with the help of their [...]

    22. For whatever reason, I've become friends with a fair number of white South Africans lately. And while they are all deeply regretful of the apartheid era, there is a sort of tension there, a feeling that despite their modern, liberal attitudes, a lot is being unsaid to me, the outsider, about the issue of race.And Gordimer, writing at the height of the apartheid era, was able to crack just that. Our primary characters are decent white people who suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar terrain. And [...]

    23. South Africa becomes a battleground. Armed militants are fighting in all of the cities. The Smales, a liberal white family, escape with the aid of their servant and hide out in his village. That’s where the real battle of this book begins. The roles of ‘servant’ and ‘master’ slowly transform. Tension builds within the Smales as a shift in characters shimmers like the heat rising above the veldt. What surprised me the most was the change in the children. Gordimer’s writing style took [...]

    24. How can I say I “liked” this? I didn’t. It was grim and depressing and powerfully difficult to read. It may well be a great novel, but I had to force myself to read every single page. It forced me to confront my own gathering horror at the fact that I was indeed horrified at seeing deep injustice being over-turned. Not only is it an intensely emotionally wrenching novel, Gordimer’s narrative flows right through thought, dialogue, memory, and action without distinction. The literary diffi [...]

    25. Beautifully written prose. The descriptions of life in July's settlement are vivid - often achieved through precise word-sketches in just a few sentences, yet so evocative.The book subtly reveals power struggles in apartheid South Africa; power struggles between black and white (no matter how liberal their thinking), between man and woman, city and village - nation against nation struggles that are still apparent in the micro cosmos of the village we get to know so intimately in the course of th [...]

    26. Written before the end of apartheid in 1981. It is a fictionalized account of what could have happened with an armed rebellion. The story follows the Smales, a liberal White South African family who were forced to flee Johannesburg to the native village of their black servant, July.What was so masterful about this book is the way Gordimer portrays the relationship between July and Maureen (the white woman), between Bam (the white man) and Maureen, between the villagers and the white family. It i [...]

    27. Oops! Another must-read that I ended up not liking that much. Perhaps the book has some grand message to convey or something Yet I had to push myself hard to finish it while I’m usually a fan of African literature and devour a book in no time!! Probably only the last ten pages or so, where it got interesting for me. giving it two starts

    28. A haunting book that I expect I will love more and more as time passes and its affect can be felt more acutely.

    29. I just don't like the writing style hereThere's certain paragraphs that show a thought or sentiment that was interesting or worthwhile, but even then, I cared more for the thought itself than the words Ms. Gordimer chose to portray it.Some of Maureen's observations about July towards the end - about how she saw what she wanted to see and not seeing July for who he really was - reminds me a bit of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, just from the opposite point of view.The ending seems rather abrupt. [...]

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