Another literary great passes. I came to learn of Gordimer through an interview or two that I read in the Paris Review a couple of years ago. I remember thinking that the clarity with which she expressed herself, as well as her honesty, was astounding. Now I understand that her ability to see the world through other people’s eyes was what most impressed me.
I wonder if I would have read more of Nadine Gordimer if more of a fuss had been made about her in the years when I was reading most. I still often feel as if great women writers as not recognised as much as great men writers are. I’m not going to shout that out today. There’s enough shouting going on around me lately for me to want to stay quiet.
Plus, to honour this writer’s style, which is, as Tessa Hadley says before reading out Gordimer’s story City of Lovers, to be “intensely politically, intensely moral, without shrillness, without outrage strangely enough”, then I should keep any rage-baggage-from-other-shit to myself.
If you are interested in learning more about Gordimer’s life, below are some flashbacks from those who are in the know. The New York Times piece by Helen T. Vergongos and Tessa Hadley’s reading are today for me the most enjoyable and accessible: