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The House Gun
Nadine Gordimer
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1997



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J.M. Coetzee

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Marlene van Niekerk


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The House Gun is Nadine Gordimer's twelfth novel, her second set in post-apartheid South Africa. For Harald and Claudia Lingard, the passively liberal, white couple at the center of the story, not much has changed in the political transition from apartheid to majority rule, from F.W. de Klerk to Nelson Mandela. Harald and Claudia live in comfort and safety until one evening when they discover 'something terrible has happened.' Their only son, Duncan, has been arrested for killing one of his housemates. There is never a question of his guilt - he has confessed to the crime - but Harald and Claudia cannot understand how Duncan could abandon his belief in the sanctity of human life, nor can they believe that the violence that had always affected 'other people' has found a way into their world. The House Gun records with remarkable precision the psychological transformations that Harald and Claudia undergo as they search for the truth.

In this novel, as in most of Gordimer's books, the personal becomes political. While Duncan's crime was surely one of passion, the repercussions force Harald and Claudia to snap out of their oblivion and face the legacy of South Africa's bloody history: since the end of apartheid the murder rate in South Africa has skyrocketed, and, as a result, guns are 'kept for protection' in almost every household. Harald and Claudia also must face their own prejudices as they put their faith in Hamilton Motsamai, the black lawyer Duncan has hired to defend him.

- www.penguinputnam.com

bookweb    
BOOKS BY NADINE GORDIMER:

The Conservationist
1974
Mehring, a wealthy, dominating South African industrialist moves to preserve his way of life, his power, and his possessions in the face of massive injustice and suffering, changing times, and death.
The House Gun
1997
The orderly life of a white, middle-aged, South-African couple changes for good when their son kills one of his housemates.
The Pickup
2001
When Julie Summers' car breaks down in a sleazy street, a young Arab mechanic comes to her rescue. Out of this meeting develops a friendship that turns to love. Soon Abdu is deported from South Africa and Julie insists on going too - but the couple must marry to make the relationship legitimate.
The Lying Days
1953

Occasion for Loving
1963
The love affair between a black man and a white woman in a time when lovers could be imprisoned for breaking the law against sexual relations across the color bar.
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