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The House Gun

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,066 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
A house gun�kept like a house cat: a fact of ordinary life at the end of this century where violence is in the air. With that gun the architect son of Harald and Claudia has committed what is to them the unimaginable act�shot dead the intimate friend he discovered making love to his woman. And the relationship between the three is revealed to have unimaginable meaning...
Published April 6th 2004 by Penguin Canada (first published 1997)
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Dec 16, 2009 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
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
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bob by: Katherine
Shelves: owned
In her own unique style, Gordimer presents a taut portrait of a white South African mother and father dealing with the aftermath of a murder committed by their son, defended by a black lawyer in the criminal court in the post-apartheid world. The intricate web of relationships - the son, his lover, his friend who has betrayed him and been killed, the parents, the lawyer - is beautifully weaved, the dialogue sparse but revealing, the thoughts of each actor behind the voices and actions, compellin ...more
John F
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I found the novel thematically and stylistically clunky: the key characters and their concerns never fully engage or seem plausible; the syntactical handling of direct speech is unnecessarily confusing; and there is an intrusive authorial presence.

The novel is set in post-apartheid South Africa and provides a glimpse into the emerging dialogues about race, gender, culture and politics. In particular, it touches on white anxiety concerning the developing black political and econom
Oct 11, 2008 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
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
Aug 15, 2012 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
Kike Ramos
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Español / English

En esta novela ha ocurrido una tragedia: Un hombre mató a uno de sus amigos más cercanos. No es un thriller donde debamos atrapar al asesino por medio de la investigación, pero una historia donde seguiremos el proceso desde otro punto de vista: el de los padres del asesino. Ambos personas educadas de clase media/alta de Sudáfrica que se preguntan "¿qué hicimos mal?" Observamos lo que piensan, lo que sienten, cómo tratan de deslindarse de la culpa y pasarla entre ellos, y como la
Abhinav Yadav
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About Author
Nadine Gordimer (20 November 1923 – 13 July 2014) was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature.


About Book
I picked this book because Nadine Gordimer once took me on The Ultimate Safari. Find the pdf of story here. It was a chapter in class X during my time. I found the chapter thrilling and specially the character of grandmother who is shown of audacity and wisdom. Another reason was that the Noble laureate had died recently (July
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite style, though it is certainly impressive how Gordimer explores the private thoughts of people facing one of the worst possible situations to face, as well as the context of major social and historical issues in South Africa. I couldn't believe how repetitive some parts were, though, and it wasn't because there was new information or a new perspective being introduced. I had the sense of its being deliberately obscured, through florid prose and the use of em dashes instead of quot ...more
Steve Congdon
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is set in South Africa after the great Truth and Reconciliation law put into effect by the ANC led by Mandela which prevented either white or blacks from taking revenge on perpetrators of the carnage created by apartheid.
It starts out like a detective novel involving a case where a young white man has murdered another white man in what appears to be a fit of jealous rage. However, this is not a whodunit; we know the kid did it; the focus of the novel is on the impact this event has on
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As other reviewers have mentioned, the language of this book keeps you very distant from the story and it’s neary impossible to make a connection with the characters. Typical if I don’t finish a book (I only made it through part 1) I’d give it only one star, but I gave another star because there were a few interesting points of view about the death penalty.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The definition of "slog"? This book.
Amy Blunt
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I FINALLY finished this book. What a slog. The book club people were right - the second had is Bett than the first. But it's 147 pages before you get to part 2.

The references to the parents as he/she were very irritating to me. They did become Harald and Claudia in most of the book but became he/she again at the end.

This author uses the irritating form of no quotations when people are talking. Most of the book is about thoughts and feelings. It's exhausting.

I gave this book more of a ch
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
Mar 25, 2012 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
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
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2012 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
Steven Langdon
Jul 24, 2011 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
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
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
Jan 11, 2011 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
Roger DeBlanck
Nov 16, 2012 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
Apr 17, 2011 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
Erika Nerdypants
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
Feb 02, 2010 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
Jul 06, 2015 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
May 03, 2013 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
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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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“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.” 926 likes
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