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The Lying Days

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  143 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
About the Book: The Lying Days Nadine Gordimer's first novel, published in 1953, tells the story of Helen Shaw, daughter of white middle-class parents in a small gold-mining town in South Africa. As Helen comes of age, so does her awareness grow of the African life around her. Her involvement, as a bohemian student, with young blacks leads her into complex relationships of ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2002 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published 1953)
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Oct 22, 2012 Keryn rated it it was amazing
Exquisite writing by the great Ms Gordimer; I could not put this down, even though some have said in reviews that it is slow-moving and boring.

As a South African, I find this story fascinating as it is set during the time when my parents were children (having emigrated from England as toddlers with their parents) and the country was on a tragic path in our history. Descriptions of the city of Johannesburg and Durban, especially the port area, are amazing:

"The old airport on the Snell parade was
Nov 13, 2008 Robin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes deep insight
My favorite book.

Stunning writing that exemplifies the the highest form of the craft. The author is able to create an immediate, real and profoundly complete inner life. The character of Helen is someone who I felt like I have not only met, but have the privilege of sharing her conscious.

The way the novel examines the human's ability to peel away the onion layers of one's soul, each truer then the next, is a lesson in humility and the inspiration for deep and continued personal development.

José Toledo
Aug 05, 2014 José Toledo rated it it was amazing
It is amazing because it shows a great writer at her beginnings, a woman in her twenties displaying a rare ability to communicate emotion with the coolness of a antipodean Virginia Woolf. The hallmark of a true artist showed early.
Margaret1358 Joyce
Set against the backdrop of segregationist South Africa of the'30's and '40's,and narrated in the 1st person by the young woman protagonist, Helen,of white middle class colonial background- who grows up 'on the crust'-not the actual soil- of the country, this book conveys a visceral sense of the profound unrest in South Africa. It is an intensely-wrought story with astute and universally recognizable insights. Gordimer writes like an analytic philosopher-poet.Her breadth of vision is huge.
Sep 03, 2015 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books live unread on our shelves for an inexplicably long time, so that when eventually we pick them up, we wonder what on earth took us so long. That is certainly the case with The Lying Days, both this novel and Nadine Gordimer’s Booker winning The Conservationist have been residing on my to be read shelves for several years. I am very glad though that I started with this one, because it was, as I soon discovered, Gordimer’s first novel. As a first novel it is extraordinary – there is a s ...more
Coming of age with disillusion

There is nothing novel about coming of age stories - and yet this one seems different. Of course a lot of it has to do with the way Gordimer writes those sentences - as if she is going through painful but eloquent labour - drawing out one idea at a time. She seems to be discovering them at the same time she writes them.
But the attraction of the book is also where the growing up is placed - in a torn nation where the protagonist is sitting on a comfortable chair. She
Feb 07, 2014 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the beginning of this book was slow-moving (as many reviews indicate), I eventually got into the story and connected with the main character. As an American with limited knowledge of South Africa, it was a learning experience.
May 12, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it
Excellent, beautiful novel. This book is as much about South Africa and the roots of Apartheid as it as a fantastic girl coming of age story. I'll take this over Catcher In the Rye any day. I highly recommend!
Jun 07, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it
Such beautiful writing. Written in the 1950s, a sort of coming-of-age story of a white South African girl, waking up to the realities of her country and her class. Really liked it.
Aug 21, 2012 Athena rated it it was ok
too boring...did not hold my attention
Jul 07, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
It was fascinating to read this, knowing it was her first work. I think she deftly illustrated the gradual disintegration that some (but not all) white people in South Africa experience as they started to see, and question, the apartheid state. Some other readers have criticized the slow pace of the book, but I think for many of us, that kind of realization comes slowly and incrementally. We don't see it all at once--the "What is water?" phenomenon, I imagine.
Jenny Stratton
Mar 21, 2014 Jenny Stratton marked it as to-read
I've just fished my copy of this from the loft. Mine was published by Virago. When they started in the 70s I can remember being attracted by their books on bookstore shelved, but can't remember which I read. This one is published in 1983, so I must have bought it then. A later phase in my life, I wonder what attracted me to it. I don't think I read it! I will now.
Jun 22, 2009 Jeweleye rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I couldn't even finish reading this book. Her writing is beautiful and she draws lovely pictures with words. But the fact is I don't visualize all that well, so for me the storyline was continually interrupted. I finally just gave up. Too bad, because I used to really enjoy reading her short stories in The Atlantic Monthly, and I was looking forward to a young girl's coming of age story in South Africa after reading The Power of One. Who knows? I may pick it up again when I have time t ...more
Apr 20, 2016 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Beautiful and exquisite writing about a girl becoming a woman during the changing history of South Africa.
Nov 15, 2013 Shelby rated it liked it
The Lying Days to me was a very decent novel. Nadine Gordimer really did a good job at explaining the struggles that the main character Helen went through, and I really got a feel of what she was going through. Even though I enjoyed the novel there were parts in the book that did not really capture my attention and made me lose interest. Overall, I enjoyed the novel.
Jun 04, 2016 Maggie rated it liked it
I would give it 3.5 stars. It was a very densely written book with descriptions to plod through like wading through thick muddy water. The rambling sentences had to be broken down piece by piece to decipher. But it felt worth it in the end. It was an enlightened coming of age story of a privileged girl during Apartheid in Johannesburg.
Jun 23, 2011 Lyn rated it it was amazing
Her first novel - written in the 1950s. Continuing my life long love affair with this lyrical South African writer who has written all our days for us. From her short story "Treasures of the Sea" that I read while at high school on, she has never failed to move me.
Mar 08, 2008 Evie rated it it was ok
According to my notes I read this in 2005. I can't remember a thing about it...
Oct 07, 2008 Brandon rated it really liked it
This will be my third book club book, I'm very excited to find it and begin it!
Feb 13, 2013 Robbin rated it it was amazing
Awesome....beautifully written, I see why she won a Nobel
Jul 03, 2008 Maria rated it did not like it
Couldn't get into this one at all.
Shall maybe return to it later.
Dec 12, 2009 Ria added it
De leugenachtige dagen by Nadine Gordimer (1995)
Aug 18, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
very interesting - is it autobiographical?
Jul 17, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing
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Nadine Gordimer was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity".

Gordimer's writing dealt with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. Under that regime, works such as Burger'
More about Nadine Gordimer...

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