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Wine & Book Group Pick for February '06

abstract:For all of my adult reading life, I have been learning about South African politics and race relations through Nadine Gordimer's novels. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991, she has been called the moral voice of her nation. Her latest novel, Get A Life (Farrar, Straus and Girioux) is our pick for this month's Book & Wine Club, where our partners at match equally complex and evocative wines. Don't miss this opportunity to experience South Africa as it breathes and tastes today.


January 31, 2006

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  • Nadine Gordimer

    Born into a racially divided country in 1923, the 72-year-old Nadine Gordimer has sought to capture the moral and psychological tensions of her homeland through her writing. She has addressed master-servant relations, spiritual and sexual paranoias of colonialism, the "shallow liberalism of her privileged white compatriots," and been witness to -– if not a catalyst for -- the emergence of a new political and economic order.  (Not dissimilar to the impact of Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness, on Belgian colonialism.)

    Criticized for having come from a well-off family in a mining town just outside of Johannesburg, Gordimer has proven to be a champion for change. Like her fellow countryman and author J.M. Coetzee, her voice for the region garnered her the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was the founding member of the Congress of South African Writers.

    "Learning to write sent me falling, falling through the surface of the South African way of life." In Gordimer’s work there is an affection for her homeland and its people, a love of its epic haunting landscapes and potent past. This is juxtaposed with an examination of the devastating psychological effects of political persecution on the lives of ordinary South Africans and it is this which gives her work its moral force and imaginative richness.—Contemporary Writers

    Get a Life is her fourteenth novel. It brings us fully up to date with the economic and environmental concerns of the nation post-Apartheid, as reflected through the relationship of Paul and Benni Bannerman, whose opposing perspectives as an environmentalist and an executive at an advertising agency bring career and marital tensions.

    Further Links

    Nadine Gordimer's Nobel Prize Speech

    Contemporary Writers Biography

    Nadine Gordimer (Cambridge Studies in African and Caribbean Literature) Reference Book: Academic study of Nadine Gordimer's novels

    South African Wines

    Our partners at will be selecting these and posting them on their website. Follow the link to see the three different wines they've researched for you this month. 

    Past Book & Wine Picks

    • January: The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon; Vega Sindoa 2002 Viura Chardonnay, Finca Allende Rioja 1999, and Muga Prado Eneao Gran Reserva Rioja 1996
    • December: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen; Chateau Carbonnieux White Bordeaux 2003, Sterling Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2004, Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron 1996
    • November: Beyond Measure, Pauline Holdstock; Antinori Santa Cristina 2002 Sangiovese, Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2002, Rontodi Chianti Classico Reserva Vigna dl Sorbo 1999
    • October: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote; Chandon Brut Classic, Nicholas Feuillatte Rose and Veuve Clicquot Vintage Reserve 1998



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