THE LYING DAYS by Nadine Gordimer


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The short stories in The Soft Voice Of The Serpent (1952) placed the accent on an inner sense of disappointment and in this novel, told by young Helen Shaw, it has a ring of personal experience and observation. From the narrow, conventional life of the Mine, in Atherton, South Africa, Helen's slow mutation of emotion and intellect leads her to Ludi, who teaches her the beginnings of physical delight; to Joel Aaron, snubbed by her family because he is a Jew; and, in the University of Johannesburg, to Paul Clark, of whom her family approves until they learn Helen is living with him. His work in government relief rouses Helen's concern for the black people, and their affair is shaded by Paul's ambivalence of belief -- in the rights of the government and in the rights of those who are his concern -- and it is this which sends Helen to Europe, still in search of herself. A meeting with Joel, on his way to Israel, reveals her true love and a true analysis of herself....The subjective scenery of a sleeper waking, the experimentation of rebellion, the significance and secrecy that heightens and shades an emotional journey, and the ashes of discovery when the truth is faced -- this is a tale told in tangible detail which develops those qualities evident in the earlier short stories. A meticulous first novel for a serious market.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1953
Publisher: Simon & Schuster