"July's People" by Nadine Gordimer

  • February 4, 2014 · 7:30 PM
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For years, it had been what is called a “deteriorating situation.” Now all over South Africa the cities are battlegrounds. The members of the Smales family—liberal whites—are rescued from the terror by their servant, July, who leads them to refuge in his village. What happens to the Smaleses and to July—the shifts in character and relationships—gives us an unforgettable look into the terrifying, tacit understandings and misunderstandings between blacks and whites.

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  • Wendy S.

    The tension between the two groups was almost palpable. There was so much that was misunderstood and unknown. I did feel that hope was represented by the children who found some common ground and played with each other. Although I found myself being confused at times, I think Nadine Gordimer, Alan Paton and Athol Fugard were three writers who dealt with the results of apartheid, and helped people to deal with accepting one another and to heal ace a nation. So sorry to have missed this discussion.

    February 6, 2014

    • Jim H.

      Alan Paton is definitely on the short list to be read in the group

      February 6, 2014

    • Wendy S.

      Every high school English class of mine read "Cry the Beloved Country." I missed you all, too. The mystery word above was heal. Sorry.

      February 7, 2014

  • H. Mine G.

    I missed you all.....

    2 · February 6, 2014

    • Jim H.

      You were missed Mine. Hope to see you soon

      February 6, 2014

  • Richard D

    Re: my final remark
    July's People were the Smales family. (Mwawate's people were his fellow villagers.) They were effectively his possessions or even prisoners while at the village. The key to the car was like the key to the prison, and they surrendered it to him.
    This is a similar reversal to that in the Master/Slave dialectic of Hegel & Nietzsche.
    Maureen's race to the helicopter was a prison break.
    Maureen had neither rights nor duties while in the village, similar to a prisoner or maybe more like a zoo specimen.

    1 · February 5, 2014

    • Wendy S.

      Interesting take. When two worlds collide -

      February 5, 2014

  • Julia B.

    p.s. The more I think about it, the more I admire this book. Will reread it paying greater attention to Gordimer's intricate and allusive use of language.

    February 5, 2014

  • Leita C.

    Loved the book

    February 5, 2014

  • Julia B.

    As usual strong differing opinions that were listened to with attention and respect.

    February 5, 2014

  • Jim H.

    A book that brought strong reactions from many of the group. A dry spare almost journalistic view of two people dealing with the end of one world and perhaps the beginning of a new one. The blood and sweat and smells of birth and death are endlessly invoked in this rich complex little story. Thanks everybody for coming out

    February 5, 2014

  • Bobby

    Utopian tripe by a naive liberal, marred by a flawed, intentionally obfuscatory narrative and writing.

    Oh well, if all else fails, we can count on the Cubans and Russians to restore order. Those savior-nations usually smooth crises and improve everyone's well being.

    Worst book we've read in a long time.

    Skip it.

    February 4, 2014

  • Gregg

    Hi,

    Looks like I will be stuck at work tonight later than anticipated. I've un-RSVPd, so hopefully someone can take my slot. Enjoyed the book. See you next time.

    Gregg

    February 4, 2014

  • marianne

    Hi group. No matter what I do, the invites to this meetup keep going to my spam folder. Has anyone else had this problem and solved? Please let me know. I moved messages to inbox but it did not stop. THanks.--Marianne

    February 2, 2014

    • Jim H.

      Or you can create a Meet up folder and force all Meet up mail to go to it

      February 3, 2014

    • marianne

      Brilliant! Thank you for the great idea. I'll try it.

      February 4, 2014

  • Wendy S.

    So sorry not to attend, but I don't want to be out in slippery conditions. To all the hearty souls who attend, enjoy!

    February 3, 2014

    • Jim H.

      Sorry to miss you Wendy. Take care

      February 3, 2014

    • Wendy S.

      You two, too.

      February 3, 2014

  • Anna Marie S.

    Im hoping to get to book read thris weekend and plan to attend

    January 31, 2014

  • Jim H.

    Just a note to everyone: if you can't come on Tuesday please take a minute and change your RSVP status to 'NO'. Thank you

    January 30, 2014

  • Nerio O. B.

    I am so sorry, Jim. I am not able to attend. I am also sorry that I missed the past meetings. I haven't had time to get these books and read them.

    January 30, 2014

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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