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De leugenachtige dagen

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  30 reviews
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 emotion and action in a cultur ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published 1995 by Uitgeverij Bert Bakker (first published 1953)
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Apr 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.75/5 Stars

I had to read this novel for class and I must say I expected more from it. This book is centered around Helen Shaw and tells her coming of age story in the South Africa of the 1940s. Even though I appreciated some of Helen's behaviors, especially when she tried to find a life of her own out of her parents' grasp, I also found her quite boring and a bit hypocritical at times.
The book shows the unrest of those years and also talks about segregation, but even though I feel like these t
Bob Newman
Coming of Age in South Africa

Even when she was in her twenties, Nadine Gordimer could write magnificent prose. Like John Updike, she could describe feelings, intimate details, rooms, and scenes perfectly, immaculately, with unrivaled accuracy. It is not just a page here or a page there, but from start to finish. If brilliant, it’s almost exhausting. THE LYING YEARS describes the life of a young woman born into a gold mine town with its narrow vision, parochial tastes, and the usual unseen assum
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

I had to read this novel by Nadine Gordimer for class and I have to admit I wan't expecting to like it as much as I did. I think it was a bit too slow for my taste, but I like the story nevertheless. I also appreciated a lot of dialogues and insights here provided.
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

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. ...more
Aug 18, 2015 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
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Technically 4.5 because the centering of the white experience/white cognizance of racism feels extremely dated (that said, it's set in the 1940s to 1950 in Joburg and the protagonist is a naive young white woman, the daughter of mine higher-ups). But I loved it so much that it blew past star ratings for me. Gordimer is the most profoundly sensual writer. Her prose is so dense because she's conveying so much. When she gets done describing a place, you can see it, feel it; you've experienced it in ...more
José Toledo
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Melanie  H
Jan 12, 2014 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.
Apr 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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! ...more
Tracy Guth Spangler
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 04, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
too boring...did not hold my attention
Julie Oxendale
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
May 17, 2009 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
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
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. ...more
Jenny Stratton
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. ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and exquisite writing about a girl becoming a woman during the changing history of South Africa.
Jul 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another favorite
May 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't get into this one at all.
Shall maybe return to it later.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This will be my third book club book, I'm very excited to find it and begin it! ...more
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very interesting - is it autobiographical?
Mar 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
According to my notes I read this in 2005. I can't remember a thing about it... ...more
Lianne Barnard
rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2020
Charlene Smith
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May 14, 2011
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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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