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A Guest of Honour

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
James Bray, an English colonial administrator who was expelled from a central African nation for siding with its black nationalist leaders, is invited back ten years later to join in the country's independence celebrations. As he witnesses the factionalism and violence that erupt as revolutionary ideals are subverted by ambition and greed, Bray is once again forced to choo ...more
Paperback, 557 pages
Published October 7th 2002 by Bloomsbury Publishing India Private Limited (first published 1970)
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Neal Adolph
Jul 09, 2016 Neal Adolph rated it really liked it
Last night, at the late hours, as my body wanted to sleep, I pushed on and continued to read this book to its completion. I knew that I slept instead I would wake up disappointed in myself. Those last hundred pages are blistering, sad, catastrophic. Gordimer had a special power in her writing, taking immense political and social events, complex ideas, and condensing them into something that is terribly personal, on a scale that one can appreciate and understand, and tragic. Here she does so care ...more
José Toledo
Jul 26, 2014 José Toledo rated it it was amazing
Upon learning of Nadine Gordimer's death, I instinctively reached my hand out to the shelf where I keep her books --in alphabetical order; perhaps should be chronological-- and touched on A Guest of Honour, first English edition of 1971, and immediately began to read, to read again, immersing my sorrow at her passing in the richness of her own words. I was not surprised by her death at 90 years of age, yet I did not expect it, did not want it. She was a cultural point of reference to me for more ...more
Seattle Al
Dec 11, 2015 Seattle Al rated it it was amazing
Unlike many readers, I found this to be a human story first, with the politics secondarily forming the backdrop. This may not have been Gordimer's intent--she may have felt the political truths came first--but I think the novel's strengths are in its portrait of James Bray, a decent man trying to ascertain the right way to react to the post-independence political landscape of a nation he came to love. He was fully three- dimensional and sympathetic, and his erstwhile political allies were comple ...more
Liz Murray
Nov 01, 2007 Liz Murray rated it it was ok
Stopped reading 3/4 of way through. I found this to be too didactic for my liking and the only reason I kept going as far as I did was I felt I would learn something from it, but it wasn't an enjoyable read. If you were studying independence movements in Central Africa I feel it might be a more interesting read but I didn't get attached to any of the characters, it's very long and full of political speech, and a love affair that appears devoid of passion..
In short I was disappointed by this nove
Tony Vrnjas
The only way to describe reading this novel was that it was a hard slog. Almost academic in character and content.
Colonel Bray, gebürtiger Engländer, erhält von Präsident Mweta das Angebot zu Unabhängigkeitsfeiern nach Zentralafrika zurückzukehren - dahin, wo er vor vielen Jahren im Dienst des britischen Staates stand und schließlich suspendiert wurde, da er die schwarze Unabhängigkeitsbewegung unterstützte. Ohne Zögern nimmt Bray dieses Angebot an, lässt seine Frau im beschaulichen England zurück und erhält von Mweta eine Stelle als Helfer in Gala, einer Region im Norden des Landes. Es zeigt sich jedoch sc ...more
David Kenrick
Dec 23, 2014 David Kenrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact that Goodreads tells me I have been reading this book since August,that is not an indication of its quality.

A Guest of Honour is a compelling portrait of how revolutionary or nationalist ideas become comprised in the wake of a victorious African liberation struggle and how individuals seek to make sense of it all in the context of their own personal affairs (literally, in this case).
Aug 03, 2009 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is like one long experiment in which Nadine Gordimer asks, "What if I set out to write a novel, but write it as if I were John Updike trying to write a Nadine Gordimer novel?" Turns out it would be pretty bad, right down to the sexy parts.
Jul 12, 2015 Helen rated it it was ok
Nadine Gordimer's The Pick Up is one of my favorite books. This one? Not so much. Dry, long, it would have helped if she had had an editor in the early years. This 500 page book contains a 200 page story.
Nov 02, 2012 Tony rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't a novel, it's a 500 page treatise on African politics with some sex thrown in. But she's an "important " author, so what do I know?

At least I managed to finish it.
Apr 07, 2009 Jacquie rated it really liked it
Interesting insight into post colonial Africa
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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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“Pero las cuestiones humanas no conducían a conclusiones tajantes, al trazado de una línea ni a una suma total. Parecían resolverse, disolverse, cuando sólo se estaban formando de nuevo, reuniéndose en otra combinación. Incluso cuando estamos muertos, lo que hicimos continúa tramando estas nuevas combinaciones.” 1 likes
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