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My Son's Story (1990)

by Nadine Gordimer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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634925,852 (3.51)9
This novel combines a passionate love story and a haunting portrayal of contemporary South Africa. It describes what it is really like to live a life determined by the struggle to be free. Nadine Gordimer's other books include The Conservationist, Burger's Daughter, and July's People.
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» See also 9 mentions

English (5)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 5 of 5
DNF ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
'If he was responsible to the struggle, then the struggle was responsible for him', September 15, 2014

This review is from: My Son's Story: A Novel (Paperback)
The story revolves around a 'coloured' family living under apartheid. To begin with, an ideal nuclear family: father a teacher, a beautiful mother and two children. When the father accedes to his students' wishes that he accompany them on a protest march, he is sacked, and devotes himself full time to the cause. And on the way falls in love with a white woman with the same aims...
I found it hard to keep on with this one: whether it's Ms Gordimer's writing style, or the subject matter - as the son's father rises in the ranks of Freedom Fighters, with all the politics that entails. ( )
  starbox | Sep 15, 2014 |
Will is the son to whom the title refers. He is the son of "Sonny," a former schoolteacher and key player in the anti-apartheid movement, and Aila, who cares for Will and his sister Baby and remains uninvolved in Sonny's life as a revolutionary. Will is haunted by a chance meeting with his father one afternoon at a movie theater. His father is there with a white woman. Will knows her because she works for a human rights group and visited their home when Sonny was in prison, but he also knows that she is something more to his father. With that the story begins to unfold, weaving back and forth in time to reveal the impact of an affair and a revolution on a family.

I fell under Gordimer's spell immediately. She is a gifted storyteller. Her writing is breathtaking. Consider this description of Will's life:

"There's no air in my life. The polished corridors of police stations and prisons have been the joy-rides I've been taken on with the people I love."

Or this description of the Supreme Court in the Palace of Justice:

"I sat in the great entrance hall among majestic pillars with polished brass feet, under lozenges of coloured light that came steeply from stained-glass windows; their churches and their halls of justice are somehow mixed up, the see some divine authority in their laws."

This book is an excellent example of how the story of a single family, while different from the story of every other family, can begins the last chapter with this observation:

"It's an old story - ours. My father's and mine. Love, love/hate are the most common and universal of experiences. But no two are alike, each is a fingerprint of life. That's the miracle that makes literature and links it with creation itself in the biological be used to illustrate a nation's history. Will himself makes this point. Part of the story is told from Will's perspective, and he sense."

I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Gordimer's work. ( )
  porch_reader | Jul 22, 2014 |
After a few false starts and stops, I finally got into this extremely well-told tale of apartheid and revolution in South Africa. The beauty of it is that the secret lives of each family member can get so engrossing, that you seem to actually know them. ( )
  screamingbanshee | Oct 1, 2009 |
Don’t judge a book by its title. My Son’s Story is not a story about a father’s son. It’s actually a son’s father story. This means, it’s written in a perspective of a son about his father.

I can’t carry on reading this book. The story so far is bad. It’s not that the narration is bad, but I can’t carry on reading about a husband’s affair with other woman while his wife doesn’t know anything. Perhaps I’ve put myself into the story into real compassion. It seems like a true story to me and I’m the person who’s overlooking the whole situation.

Somehow the characters in the story reflected the characters in Rwanda Hotel. Sonny is Paul. Aila is Tatiana. Hannah is the Caucasian lady from NGO.

I decided to give away this book. I don't want to keep any book regarding love affairs. It pollute my literature storage. But I still can't find anyone who can appreciate this book.

http://reading-now.blogspot.com/2007/02/my-sons-story-nadine-gordimer.html#links ( )
  jerine | Aug 15, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nadine Gordimerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lundgren, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You had a Father, let your son say so.
Sonet 13
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I was deceiving him.

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