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La Gente de July

por Nadine Gordimer

Otros autores: Ver la sección otros autores.

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1,640369,024 (3.51)188
For years, it has 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 native 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.… (más)
Añadido recientemente porcorona2020, Nevoriot, 4Maya, cbict, paulcurrion, stefphan, klh1
Bibliotecas heredadasEeva-Liisa Manner
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Inglés (33)  Holandés (1)  Alemán (1)  Todos los idiomas (35)
Mostrando 1-5 de 35 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
It's necessary first to understand what this is: a novel published in South Africa in 1981 that imagines a near-future civil war resulting from apartheid. The South African government banned this novel on publication, indicating the degree of fear at that time that some uprising like the one described might actually come to pass. As if this novel would give the oppressed segment of the population ideas they'd never contemplated, or the courage to embrace them. Given the happier course that actual history followed, this may appear to date the work a bit, but racism did not evaporate when Nelson Mandela won the election; not in South Africa, not anywhere else.

Maureen and Bam are on different wavelengths in terms of adaptation. Bam views the circumstances as temporary, still clinging to his old perceptions, still viewing possessions as theirs, still jockeying for power and status. Maureen is striving harder to view their status in the new terms, knowing they remain under July's care at his whim. An interesting shift then takes place.

July's people retain their view of white folk as a source of trouble, unpredictable, the retainers of real power. They have not seen the white cities, cannot imagine what the uprising means. July is evolving along with his white guests, demonstrating the respect he's always shown but no longer as a servant, now as someone who can decide what is best for them. He is proprietary of their care; doesn't want them having to do too much outside his perceived role for them, but no longer because he is being paid by them. Now they are his people, too. ( )
  Cecrow | Aug 18, 2022 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12851279

Quite a remarkable tale.

Gordimer has an unusual style of writing. It took me a few pages to get into it. I think it's worth working through.

In the 1970s, when South Africa was in turmoil, with black South Africans violently uprising, the white, liberal Smales family leaves their home in a rush. They follow their long-time servant, July, to his native home in the wild. As a rule, July only returned to his home every couple of years. Meantime, he sent money to his wife. Ever the faithful servant, he takes it upon himself to rescue his former employers.

The family is established in a hut built for another family member, which causes some resentment among July's family. Maureen and Bam Smales and their three children do not want to be waited upon, and try to pull their weight. The children, it turns out, adjust most easily to their new surroundings and companions, and are soon as happy running and jumping into the nearby muddy water as they ever were with their more sophisticated toys back home.

The story is told primarily from Maureen's point of view, although we get glimpses from the others. How she interprets what July says, how she tries to emulate the village women in what they do, how she worries about what will happen next. Any day they know they may be discovered. They know that villagers may give them away. And then what?

As the story progresses we gain insight into how July sees them and how his behavior and thinking changes. Does the Smales family have any idea at all about what others feel and think about them? Do they know how to behave?

The story shook me up. It put me right there with them, and when I think about it now, several weeks after finishing it, those feelings come right back. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Everything in this book is difference and togetherness, borders and ideas of borders, the united and divided semblances of the human species, distilled into its true futility. Beautiful. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
I could tell from the first couple of pages, I would not like the book. I did not understand it at all.
  booklover3258 | Nov 20, 2018 |
This book was almost too painful even to read, so raw and poignant, but I continued with it: there was that pull of a compelling story... The writing style itself is a bit scattered and jumpy, not flowing easily, sometimes making me re-read a sentence to fully comprehend it or to see who is actually talking in a dialogue. So I didn't care much for that part. But what impressed me was an intense try for objectivity - a white anti-apartheid writer trying to equally present the emotions of blacks and whites, the mindset of a white couple who genuinely consider themselves very fair towards their longtime black servant, until the roles sort of reverse - and then the conflicting emotions and unexpected thoughts arise in everybody involved. I wish there was a more clear denouement at the end. But the author decided to let us figure it out. ( )
1 vota Clara53 | Jun 9, 2018 |
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» Añade otros autores (7 posibles)

Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Obra?Estado
Nadine Gordimerautor principaltodas las edicionescalculado
Carroux, MargaretTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Loponen, SeppoTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Oort, Dorinde vanTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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Das Alte stirbt,
und das Neue kann nicht geboren werden;
in diesem Interregnum treten morbide Symptome
von großer Mannigfaltigkeit auf.

Antonio Gramsci
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Möchten Sie haben etwas Tee?
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Het oude sterft af en het nieuwe kan niet geboren worden; in dit interregnum ontstaat een grote verscheidenheid aan morbide symptomen. (Antonio Gramsci, gevangenisdagboeken)
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Wikipedia en inglés (1)

For years, it has 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 native 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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