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The House Gun
Nadine Gordimer
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The House Gun

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  908 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
"There is no privacy more inviolable than that of the prisoner. To visualize that cell in which he is thinking, to reach what he alone knows; that is a blank in the dark."

Privileged whites in post-apartheid South Africa, Harald and Claudia Lindgard have managed to live the better part of 50 years without ever confronting the deepest shadows in their culture or in their own
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,639)
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Julie Tridle
This book keeps the reader at such a distance from the story that I never connected with the characters or their situation. First of all, the focus of the story is on the parents of a man who has murdered one of his close friends over a woman. The parents know little about their son's life and even less about his relationship with the victim and the woman the feud was over. Instead, much of the book focuses on the parents as they grapple with how a person they had raised could possibly have take ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Graham rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, south-africa
I have to state up front that from the first paragraph, I did not enjoy the style in which this book was written. It irritated me.

Nadine Gordimer is an incredible icon of South African literature, and although this review might come across as disrespectful, it was my honest reaction to reading the book.

I found this work difficult to read - contrived. The redeeming feature of the book, for me, was that it caused me to once again consider some of the sad realities of life, and specifically the bro
Dimitris Arabatzidis
Δεν το διάβασα ολόκληρο, το παράτησα όταν συνειδητοποίησα πως η ανάγνωσή του έμοιαζε περισσότερο με καταναγκαστικό έργο παρά με ευχάριστη ή έστω χαλαρωτική διεργασία. Σέβομαι την τεραστιότητα της Gordimer, όμως ο τρόπος γραφής της στο συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο είναι πολύ κουραστικός, με πολλές περιττές περιγραφές και άσκοπα μεγάλες προτάσεις.

Τελικά, δεν καταφέρεις να ταυτιστείς με κανένα πρόσωπο της ιστορίας και αυτό ίσως είναι το πιο σημαντικό. Σου αφήνει την αίσθηση πως παρακολουθείς μια ταινία που
Nov 04, 2010 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cynthia by: Public library book sale
This is a gripping story that will probably give me nightmares. What happens to a privileged white couple when their son is accused of murder? Harald and Claudia end up running into a long list of their own prejudices and things they have never managed to discuss.

I especially liked the way the couple went through their son's murder trial without a sense of time passing. (page 182): "All around: the curious, who may or may not be able to identify the parents. Within the whispering, shuffle and cr
Aug 15, 2012 PJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Observations of a South African professional couple whose son admits to murder and hires a black attorney during the time when the courts were deciding upon the legality of capital punishment. While Gordimer's descriptions of thoughts and emotions most of us have are spot on, she writes with such remoteness that I found myself not caring about the characters or the outcome of the story. After taking a break from the book I finished it with more enthusiasm in part due to the fact that I decided t ...more
I expected a lot this being my first novel by Nadine Gordimer, and for the most part she delivered. I say for the most part, because I want to be honest, her grammatical style, which actually worked very well for the court room scenes, drove me crazy at other times. I got tired of trying to figure out who was saying what to whom. That stated, the novel raises some very interesting questions about race and justice, love and the different ways we try to, successfully or not, structure our relation ...more
Jul 13, 2015 Dennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't so much a legal thriller - the crime is in the past and the revelations are minimal - as a tale of class and racial distinctions in post-apartheid South Africa, as well as the problems in a society where violence or murder is so common an occurrence that no one takes much note. This was Nadine Gordimer's strength, remarking on South Africa, not writing thrillers, and in the form in which the accused's parents are forced to look at their past and present experiences with race, class an ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
p.78 These awful things happen to other people.
p.120 Discovery is not an end. Only a new mystery.
p.175 Where is the past. Obliterated by the present.
p.261 A judge knows everything. He's the vicar of the god of justice.

A slow moving story that probes the depths of the justice system. The novel follows the case of a young man who is guilty of murder. There is no debate about Duncan's guilt, the issue at hand and up for argument are the extenuating circumstances of the situation.

The novel follows
May 09, 2015 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein junger Mann betritt das Haus einer WG in Johannesburg, wechselt ein paar Worte mit seinem auf der Couch liegenden Freund, greift zur Hauswaffe, die auf dem Tisch liegt und erschiesst ihn.
Erzählt ist die Geschichte aus wechselnden Perspektiven, hauptsächlich aus der der Eltern des Täters, die Mutter Humanistin, der Vater tiefgläubiger Christ. Ich fand den Einstieg in die Lektüre nicht leicht. Wechselnde Perspektiven zusammen mit häufig fehlenden Anführungszeichen bei wörtlichen Reden erschwe
Oct 28, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me awhile to acclimate to this author's writing style. At times, too much analysis was wasted just trying to figure out who was speaking or if the passage was a description. That being said, I adjusted. I understood the storyline and the changes South Africa faced post apartheid, but I like a book when I "get" the main characters. That was totally missing for me. So much was left unexposed, author's choice; but I was waiting for something to come out, about anyone - parents, son, house m ...more
Leanne Hunt
This is literary fiction of the highest quality, though I maintain you have to be in the mood to appreciate the subtle details and weighty political arguments that pepper the text. I have a great respect for the works of Nadine Gordimer, but the fact that I was introduced to her at university where dissection of the plot was more important than enjoying the storyline made it hard for me to simply relax into the narrative. I was continually aware of the author penning her prose, choosing a word h ...more
Roger DeBlanck
Aug 10, 2015 Roger DeBlanck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Gordimer is a Nobel laureate, but more distinctive she is a South African writer. Her work cannot be separated from her native country. In her novel The House Gun, she explores the motives of violence. Duncan Lindgard, a twenty-eight year old architect, is accused of killing a friend, who has betrayed him. Admitting to the crime, Duncan’s guilt is never in question. But why he has committed the act is the purpose of the novel. Against the backdrop of South Africa’s tumultuous past, this drama fo ...more
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Sono doppiamente soddisfatta: innanzitutto, non credevo che sarei riuscita a finire senza traumi questo libro e poi soprattutto perché mi è piaciuto un sacco.. Quindi DUE A ZERO per Serena palla al centro! :DD
Mi ero imbattuta nel libro quasi per caso, la trama mi era piaciuta e soprattutto avevo visto nella lettura di questo libro la possibilità di approfondire la mia conoscenza del Sudafrica (dove ho lasciato una parte del mio cuore..) grazie ad un premio Nobel per la letteratura. Però poi ave
Steven Langdon
Nov 19, 2011 Steven Langdon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: super
"The House Gun" has all the compulsive power of a well-plotted murder mystery and a dramatic political-psychological thriller, combined with Nadine Gordimer's superb Nobel-prize-winning prose style. It has been years since a book caught me and forced me into an all-night read -- but that's what this novel did, with its vivid portrait of post-Apartheid South Africa and its universalistic exploration of crime and punishment. What do parents do when their son is caught up in a brutal killing to whi ...more
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Gordimer won the Nobel prize in literature in 1991 because she, "through her magnificent epic writing has been of very great benefit to humanity". I think this was only my first book by Gordimer, and there is quite a bit of impressive literature coming out of South Africa, but I would not think this particular novel, though quite interesting, is one of her master pieces.

Set in South Africa, most likely Johannesburg, in 1996, a white middle class young man shoots and kills a friend and former ho
Mar 04, 2011 Chinook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
I am 10 pages away from the end of "The House Gun" by Nadine Gordimer (and 40 pages into "The Food of Love" by Anthony Capella because I somehow forgot that I hadn't quite finished "The House Gun" before going out last night!). It took me a good 200 pages to actually start to like this book, which isn't great, cause the book is only 300 pages long. That said, I really enjoyed it once I got into it.

I think it is something about the style. I have noticed lately that some books just take me ages t
Apr 17, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gordimer, Nadine. THE HOUSE GUN. (1998). ****.
This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Gordimer, but will certainly not be the last. It is by turns a love story, a courtroom drama, and a political screed against the violence that exists in South Africa after apartheid. Harald and Claudia Lingard live in a well-to-do gated townhouse community. They are empty nesters. Harald is a director of a large insurance company and Claudia is a medical doctor. Their grown son, Duncan, has moved out and is li
Sep 23, 2012 Dorothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book by this author that I have read. I have heard of her but did not really know what sort of books she writes. Then the gym that I go to had a book sale for charity and I found this among the pile and it went straight to the top of Mt TBR.

The story is set in Pretoria, South Africa. It involves a murder and the subsequent trial but is not a typical courtroom drama. The main characters are the parents of the accused. They are a professional couple, he director of an insurance c
Mar 25, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So tempting to refer to this book as a devastating bulls-eye shot. Must ... resist ... cliched opening lines.

The House Gun is set in urban South Africa in the mid-90s. I think it's Johannesburg, but can't remember it being clarified at any point in the book. At any rate, it's mostly the story of a wealthy white couple whose lives are thrown into disarray when their adult son is arrested and charged with murder. Turns out the victim was a friend, though the details twist and turn a long way from
This was one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. Gordimer is a South African Nobel Prize winner and a great writer, I’ve read two of her other books and this one caught me at page one. But - the book was icy, detached, cold, depressing and sad. The story revolves around the aftermath of a 27 year old man who shoots and kills his housemate when he finds him in the act with his girlfriend. (all this by page 2). She details the chilling and debilitating effects on the parents without ever gettin ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thomas Harte
Dec 14, 2014 Thomas Harte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The style of writing is unusual and can be challenging to concentrate but this is a class book. If you want to consider moral dilemmas, challenges and conflicts, then this is for you. Post apartheid South Africa is fertile ground for examining the moral tensions of life. Black, white, gay, straight, it's all here to make you think about liberalism and indeed hypocrisy. This book will make you think, what better compliment !!
Feb 02, 2010 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being South African, I found that Nadine Gordimer really delved into the complexities of South African life, particularly about white South Africans.
I agree that it was hard to get into at first, I found the writing style to be different from most books that I read. Once I got past the first few chapters, I was hooked.
The novel offers everything: psychological (how the parents cope with their son being a murderer, socio-politcal aspects of South Africa, morality, sexuality etc. It had a great tw
May 16, 2013 Biogeek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the hands of a lesser author, this could have been a trite courtroom drama, or a moving story of redemption. Instead Gordimer manages to drag us through pages thick with honest emotion. The first half of the book focuses on the confusion, panic, helplessness that strikes Harald and Claudia when they discover that their grown son has been arrested for murder, and that he indeed has confessed to the crime.

But the book also does not shy away from the vast spectrum of social questions arising in
Susan Oleksiw
Feb 01, 2013 Susan Oleksiw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nadine Gordimer is one of the most intellectually challenging writers of this age. He faces the hard questions of South Africa and its people unflinchingly. This story takes her into the world of the privileged white world and the way violence has permeated all their thinking.

Four young men live together and one of them, apparently inexplicably, enters a room one evening and kills one of the others with the gun that is considered the "house gun." The gun is there for anyone to use or borrow, and
Mitzi Rapkin
Jun 12, 2011 Mitzi Rapkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a hard read from beginning to end. Gordimer has a very distinct style of writing that doesn't use captions for conversations and even began using a he/she as she talked about the characters. The structure of the book was just challenging. The plot and the tensions she created;however, were some of the most thought provoking I have ever read. The stakes were always so high. Justice, judgment, race, the bounds of love and parenthood, life and death were all put on the point of a pyra ...more
I read this as part of my grad course. It was an interesting perspective into the lives' of parents who have a son that commits murder. It deals with the consequences of gun control and how the opportunity to kill can lead to a life of crisis.
Mar 15, 2014 Pauline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I was expecting too much from this book, and thus I was really disappointed.
A few years ago, I read The Pickup, by the same author, which I quite liked. At that time, I heard about The House Gun, described as one of the best books by Nadine Gordimer. So I wanted to read it since quite a long time.
I think I did not understand the story as fully as I should have. I did not enter the book, I found lots of passages quite long. I knew more or less what this book was about, but I wasn't expe
Roane Swindon
Although I found this a little tedious at times, this South African novel forces the reader to ask questions about guilt, forgiveness, violence, and South Africa. Read my full review on my blog
Gordimer's writing is superb but Duncan was an idiot. The novel wasn't what I anticipated. I honestly wouldn't have red it if it wasn't for one of my African lit courses.
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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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“I'm a candle flame that sways in currents of air you can't see. You need to be the one who steadies me to burn.” 932 likes
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