OCCASION FOR LOVING by Nadine Gordimer


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Those who have followed the earlier pictures of South Africa (The Lying Days, 1953, A World of Strangers, 1958, The Soft Voice of the Serpent, 1952, etc.,) know that this writer can convey a sense of the times, of the place, of the people, and of what has gone before, and what is happening, in her country. Here, her feeling for dedication, which may be desication, encompasses Jessie Stilwell and her relations with her husband, the child of her first marriage, and her three other children, and carries her into the conflict that Jewish Boaz and his English wife Ann bring into her household. For Ann, with no interest in politics, becomes the mistress of African Gideon Shibalo whose racial concerns have aroused governmental distrust; their affair creates tension between the Stilwells. When Ann and Gideon take their passion and themselves to Jessie, lazily holidaying on the West African coast, she is confronted with the need to close herself against their illegal association -- although she cannot send them away. The holiday's end sees Ann repudiating the bond of love for Gideon, returned to Boaz, with no knowledge or care for what her self indulgence has done to either. Love between black and white is framed by all shades of gray in an assiduous presentation of the climates of tolerance, intelligence -- and hollowness, by an author who commands serious attention.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1962
Publisher: Viking