Monday 15 July 2019

Gordimer, Nadine "Burger's Daughter" - 1979

Gordimer, Nadine "Burger's Daughter" - 1979

I wanted to read a book by Nadine Gordimer for a long time. She is a prolific author, she's from South Africa, she writes about politics, she's a woman and she received the Nobel Prize for Literature, a lot of reasons why she should be on my list.

I certainly wouldn't call this an "easy read". The author's style is not very inviting, the flow … well, there is not really a flow. The conversations are not very clear, one often gets the impression that we're not supposed to know who is talking at the moment, whose thoughts we are following. The story jumps from one person to the next.

However, the topic of the novel is very good. The story is loosely based on the life of Bram Fischer and his family, especially his daughter. Bram Fischer was a South African lawyer, known for his anti-apartheid activism. He became most popular as Nelson Mandela's defence lawyer.

I did enjoy reading about the story even if I didn't enjoy reading the story very much. The book teaches us about South Africa, their history, the apartheid system and that there have been people fighting against it, even if there could have been more.

From the back cover:

"After the death of legendary anti-apartheid activist, Lionel Burger, his daughter Rosa finds herself adrift in a South Africa she no longer knows. Previously her life had been surrounded, created by politics. Now, confronting the left-wing legacy her father represented, as well as the rise of a militant Black Consciousness movement, she is involved in a 'children's revolt' of her own. But where and how will she find her own identity?

Emerging front the darkest days of apartheid, in its moods of elegy, homage and compassion, Burger's Daughter is a great political novel not only of South Africa but of the twentieth century."

We discussed this book in our international online book club in June 2019.

Nadine Gordimer "who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity" received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.


  1. I agree that her writing takes a bit of getting used to. She has a style all her own. I have read her first three novels and each time came to the end of the book impressed by her ability to wind the personal and the political around each other. That's great you read her. Don't give up!

    1. Thank you for that, Judy. Don't worry, I will read more by her, she has such an important message.