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No Time Like the Present

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  255 ratings  ·  86 reviews
A sharply observed new novel about post-apartheid South Africa from the Nobel Prize winner

Nadine Gordimer is one of our most telling contemporary writers. With each new work, she attacks—with a clear-eyed fierceness, a lack of sentimentality, and a deep understanding of the darkest depths of the human soul—her eternal themes: the inextricable link between personal and comm
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Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Picador (first published March 1st 2012)
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Carol Ryan
In the novel No Time Like The Present, Nadine Gordimer (Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1991) sets up an interesting plot and brings to life a cast of engaging characters. The setting is contemporary South Africa. A young bi-racial couple who met during their common struggle against Apartheid now lives in post-Apartheid South Africa.
This book is chock full of fascinating details about South Africa. Zulu tribal life, Jewish and Christian white culture, and refugees from other parts of Afric
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Shane
I just could not get into this book. The style is experimental and one where the experiment remains in the writer's head and does not explode on the page, like Gordimer's other novels do. I had to abandon ship after the first 60 pages, my new motto - given that there are so many books left to read in the world, why struggle through any? And dashes to denote dialogue does not work for me, espcially when a lot of the book is internally driven and other (non-dialogue) dashes get added to the fray.

I
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Jenny
I didn’t enjoy this book, which is a shame, because I’ve appreciated Nadine Gordimer’s writing in the past. But it looks to me like she dashed this off without benefit of an editor. The writing is annoying, a mixture of unnecessary repetitions and confusing omissions. In fact, my sense is that it was dictated and then never actually read on the page by anyone before being published.

It’s too bad, because there’s an interesting and worthwhile story buried underneath all this fussy, overdone and p
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Stephen
Nadine Gordimer is one of my favorite living writers, but this recent work did not hold my attention. "No Time Like the Present," as reviewers have emphasized, depicts the tensions, disappointments, and new racial politics of post-Apartheid South Africa. This Gordimer does well--she is a shrewd, intelligent observer--but her sociological and political commentary is suspended on what I thought was a fairly thin plot: an interracial couple of anti-Apartheid radicals attempts to come to terms with ...more
Steven Langdon
You probably have to love political novels, and know (and care) a lot about South Africa, in order to enthuse fully about "No Time like the Present." But I plead guilty to both perspectives, and so this book reached me powerfully on an emotional and literary level -- not so much because of its detailed panorama of dramatic South African realities over more than two decades as because of the way Gordimer weaves a compelling personal saga through the years of this political history.

Jabulile Gumede
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José Toledo
In the darkest days of apartheid, when all the men, the leaders, were imprisoned, out of sight, voiceless, three women beautiful, courageous, talented kept the attention of the world focused on the extreme injustice and violence of their country South Africa. Winnie Mandela, Miriam Makeba, Nadine Gordimer; the fist, the song, the pen. Time -because unblemished and living- has made the last the mightiest. At 88, Nadine Gordimer, the agitated bearer of her country's troubled soul, is still raging ...more
Linda Harkins
No Time Like the Present is one of those rare books that you feel you should immediately read a second time as soon as you finish! Nadine Gordimer, 1991 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, passionately presents her insights as an astute white female observer of her South African homeland. Speaking through her main characters, the mixed-race couple Steve and Jabu Reed, Gordimer vociferously attacks thorny issues most authors sidestep: apartheid, xenophobia, human rights, heritage, poverty, ...more
Tuck
an epic novel of modern south africa centering on a yuppy couple (woman=zulu/man=white[english also jewish]) their growing family, changing careers, politics, poverty, living conditions, gays, immigrating (the couple eventually does immigrate to austrailia) , education systems both succesful and failing ones, infidelities, and of course apratheids long lasting consequenses. if you only read one novel to get your history of south africa this would be a good one.
that all said, man o man is it hard
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Andreas
Nadine Gordimers kluge politische und soziologische Analyse des heutigen Südafrika verdient allen Respekt und macht dieses Buch zu einer lohnenden Lektüre, die reichlich Erkenntnisgewinn verschafft. Der Ansatz ist dabei legitim und geht in gewisser Weise auch auf: Gordimer zeigt das Leben im Südafrika nach Ende der Rassentrennung anhand des Ehepaars Jabu (schwarz) und Steve (weiß) - eine Liebe, die zu Apartheidszeiten verboten war und nun Vorreiter für eine neue Normalität sein könnte. Beide käm ...more
Lisa
I did not enjoy this book. I thought I would like this book. It was chosen by my book club so I had to finish it but it felt like hard work.

The story is an interesting one. A black woman and a white man marry secretly and live in South Africa under apartheid. They are active freedom fighters and rejoice when apartheid is abolished. The true story begins with their life in the new South Africa and all of the contradictions they must face being part of the new middle class. They chose to live in
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Buchdoktor
Steve und Jabulile sind ein junges Akademikerpaar aus Johannesburg. Als Sohn einer jüdischen Mutter und eines nichtreligiösen Vaters stellt Steve eine Art kulturellen Mischling dar. Jabus Vater dagegen ist als Schulrektor und Gemeindeältester einer Methodistengemeine in der Provinz Kwa Zulu fest in seiner Gemeinde verankert. Jabu ging mit 17 ans Lehrerseminar in Swaziland, die winzige Enklave grenzt an Kwa Zulu. Inzwischen hat sie zusätzlich ein Jurastudium abgeschlossen und ist Mutter einer kle ...more
Faith
A novel of post-post-Apartheid South Africa, in the sense that Mandela’s presidency has passed and the setting illustrates the issues of tribalism, corrruption, and how to continue to work for the once-shared dream in the new reality. A suburban bohemian neighborhood of former freedom fighters who had suffered prison and other hardships of the struggle, both Black and white, which also includes the Dolphins (with the swimming pool used by all and a gathering place), a household of gay men (one o ...more
Allyson


I really like this author and feel I should have enjoyed this book more but it was a little boring and also hard to physically read. I felt very aware of reading each sentence, no flow. I was not invested emotionally in any of her characters and it felt surface glancing evidence by the fact I had to keep reminding myself who was who. It was long and I did not like the cover, but I was curious enough to see both her story develop and end to slog through. I did not expect the ending and appreciat
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Päivi Brink
I thought I would be super interested in a novel by Gordimer analyzing
today's South Africa, but I found the book quite hard to read. It was more like an essay than a novel and the characters did not feel like human beings. I think this novel is an interesting analysis of the political corruption and the disappointment of the freedom fighters, but it did not feel like fiction.

Suomeksi kirjoitin kirjasta Café Voltaire -blogiin: http://avaincafevoltaire.blogspot.com...
Sarah Lawrence
Okay, so I feel really bad about not finishing this one. It seems interesting, I like the characters, and I really wanted to read about post-apartheid South Africa. I wanted to read and like this book, and what I did read was really interesting. But I found the experimental style so difficult that I couldn't get into it--because it was almost conventional, every time I hit a patch of confused grammar I had to stop to struggle to get any sense of what was going on. I couldn't tell who was speakin ...more
Judy
What a pity that her editors did not take a great big red pen to this book. The style is really convoluted so that it makes reading and comprehension a chore. The characterisation and plot do not engage either. So what we are left with is a State of the Nation post Apartheid which is not really enough for a novel. What a shame as I have always enjoyed Gordimer's books.
Jinny
I found this book to be a real slog, and had I not been to South Africa twice, I'd not have stuck with it. Chosen for a book lecture that I attend, it was a book which was more politically driven than character driven. The "action" was the politics of the country; and while I enjoyed the lesson in South African politics, I would not recommend the book to a friend.
Janet
I like Nadine Gordimer, usually. Maybe it's just my current frame of mind, but I struggled through 60 pages of this and finally gave up. I felt like I kept waiting for whatever was going to "happen" to happen. Gordimer is never an easy read, but usually worth it. Maybe I will try this one again another time.
Jimgoodall
Although this is a somewhat difficult book to read in that Ms Gordimer has deviated from her normal writing style, it in no way detracts frim what is an excellent book.
The stilted narration of the lives of 2 ex ANC comrades, one white and one black, set against the backdrop of contemporary, post apartheid South Africa is compelling in its depiction of the betrayal of the struggke by Zuma and his corrupt cronies.
The novel also accurately identifies the irony of the black on black violence through
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Joy
Fascinating current account of life and decisions in South Africa. Writing style was a little difficult for me but like many other books this rich (Wolf Hall come to mind), worth the effort.

So pleased "I met" Nadine Gordimer as well.
Phindi Maduna
This is a story about post Apartheid South Africa (1994 – 2009) which is told through the lives of an interracial couple who met during apartheid, fought against it and now live in the new South Africa. The novel, by Nobel – prize winner Nadine Gordimer, touches on issues such as race, religion, homosexuality, education, crime, immigration, xenophobia and politics. I thought it would be an interesting read to take on now, amidst the celebrations of South Africa's 20 years of freedom and democrac ...more
Marvin
I complained that the last novel I read, set in Weimar Germany, with its focus on tedious characters, did not tell us enough about the politics and culture of its time & place. This novel, the last by Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer (but the first of hers that I've read) certainly does not suffer from either of those problems. She introduces us to an immensely appealing biracial couple who had risked their lives in the movement to overturn apartheid in South Africa but now have to deal wi ...more
Judith
No Time Like the Present: A Novel by Nadine Gordimer follows a biracial couple, married underground while comrades in the Movement that overcame apartheid in South Africa, into freedom, careers, and family. Steve and Jabullile find a middle-class Suburb, formerly white, now integrating, where former comrades become neighbors and parents. Facing new political realities under majority rule, they are learning to live through the new corruption, concentration of wealth now in hands both black and wh ...more
Graham Crawford
I managed about 150 pages of this one before throwing it aside, which I gather is a gather good innings for this book. One wonders if this had been written by a young unknown author, and not a Nobel winner, would it have been published? I get that the use of language in this text is a political metaphor .... but generally language is used to communicate - and most people agree large sections of this novel are more incomprehensible than James Joyce on a really bad day.

Curiously I was able of gene
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Angelo Ricci
Alla ricerca da sempre di una sintesi tra accadimenti narrativi e struttura linguistica, tra storie private, che non possono mai sottrarsi al divenire degli eventi pubblici e politici, e lo sviluppo della nazione sudafricana, a sua volta sintesi ultima di contraddizioni, Nadine Gordimer giunge con Ora o mai più al punto più estremo e affascinante della sua narrazione.
Autrice in cui convivono simbioticamente la sua storia personale e la totalizzante e continua analisi del suo paese, analisi che c
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Mommalibrarian
He is white and she is black. They were comrades and then lovers and then married (illegal in South Africa) and then parents of a little girl. At the home of another 'comrade', "They're all young but it's as if they are old men living in the past, there everything happened. Their experience of life defined: now is everything after. Detention cells, the anecdotes fromo camp in Angola, the misunderstanding with the Cubans who came - so determinately, idealistically brave - to support this Struggle ...more
Eric
Leave it to Gordimer to nail post-Apartheid as sharply as pre-. She balances the disaffection of the comrades as adeptly as the interpersonal "evolution" of the mixed race couple at the center of the story and their respective family pressures. Similarly, some very thorny syntax and political/sociological/psychological observations are offset by the clearest of prose. The tile, natch, turns out to be both prescient and ironic.
Alison
In a post-apartheid culture with the enemy supposedly slain, how do ordinary people with a conscious navigate political concerns in their everyday lives? The book is dense and complex (I’m certain I missed many references specific to South African culture), but nonetheless interesting, because many of the issue that with which Jabu and Steve grapple are amplified versions of the same issues we deal with in the US—for example, is it right to send children to private schools that reinforce class d ...more
Ruth
Yikes, what a slog!!!! I have never read a book with such a difficult writing style. After page 153 I gave up reading and started skimming so I could at least find out what happens to the main characters. I think there is really an excellent book totally obfuscated in this text. I wanted to read it after Gordimer's death, as she had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I've read that her other novels were not written in this experimental style. I cared about the husband and wife in the story, but ...more
Will
I wanted to like this – it’s a tale of political intrigue and compromises in post-apartheid SA, but her writing style, which in the past has been a delight to read, really got in the way this time. I think she is getting more and more inscrutable with every book. The dash – which she’s always used – starts and ends actual voices and conversations, as well as characters’ private thoughts. But I felt it is really overdone here, and when you add its use for interjections and asides and every other ...more
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No Time Like the Present 1 4 Dec 29, 2013 07:20AM  
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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'
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