My Son's Story MOBI ¸ My Son's eBook ñ

My Son's Story MOBI ¸ My Son's eBook ñ

My Son's Story ✅ My Son's Story PDF / Epub ⚣ Author Nadine Gordimer – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Playing truant Will slips off to a movie theatre near Johannesburg and is shocked to see his father there with a woman he doesn't know The father is a colored schoolteacher who has become a hero in th Playing truant Will slips off to a movie theatre near Johannesburg and is shocked to see his father there with a woman he doesn't know The father is a colored schoolteacher who has become a hero in My Son's eBook ñ the struggle against apartheid; his companion is a white activist fiercely dedicated to the cause.


10 thoughts on “My Son's Story

  1. Nidhi Singh Nidhi Singh says:

    Will playing truant bumps into his father with a white woman at a movie theater A narrative unfolds of reflections enmeshed with aggressive personal bitterness and the political upheaval of the times in South Africa Nadine Gordimer’s 'My Son’s Story' becomes the story of the son the father the mother and the father’s woman embedded in the interplay of race gender politics family love and commitment ‘It was because of them whose pigments darkened the blood procreated a murky dilution in the veins of the white town disowned by the white town’The black and the real black; what it is to have something of the white man in the veins It is not the same of course It cannot be grasped together in one sweeping gesture of the arm The segregation exists not only from the white people but also in the sense of a community based on ‘blackness’ and ‘real blackness’ ‘Better to keep them at distance and not recognize any feature in them'The act of segregation and how the family defies the suggestion even though it means comprehending their abode as a symbol of ghettoizing of indignity of degradation The personal is sacrificed for the public for an idea and a principle ‘The trouble was he didn’t feel himself inferior – inferior to what to whom?’‘Freedom’ isn’t the same as ‘Euality’ Euality is often processed into something finer called freedom Being free doesn’t mean an aspiration for euality which often reeks of envy for the one who is superior To become like those you have always hated and feared Who wants that? Until and unless that sense of inferiority has been sufficiently internalized with a pejorative sense of one’s self and identity ‘if she gave Sonny everything else of herself it would have been worth less if she had not kept to herself some fiber of personality as a separate identity’A marriage shared with an intuitive sense of togetherness an understanding which is instinctive and with a complicity of responses suffers from a distancing that happens with one disjointed experience followed by aloofness silent pain and withdrawal Aila becomes a silent steadfast presence throughout the novel The commitment to the community the acts of making it right for the others often invade the spaces of personal family relations and there is a feeling of usurpation of the ‘evenings’ the ‘picnics’ the ‘Saturdays’ spent together in the ‘grayness’ of the city And the latitude one gains with such elevation in the domain of the public in reshaping the personal mixing up its components here and there disordered and sometimes unattended ‘not to be followed in his private thoughts by ordinary people Like herself Like us’ ‘But he knows I can’t speak – to my mother; I can’t refuse to be in the know with him’The act of performing the slyness and the difference that can be smelled And the misery at such a discovery the ‘privilege’ of stumbling upon the darkness the secret and the change that comes with it as the slow seething poison that gushes in to corrupt the sanctity of long held faith and love sharedThe tiny guarded morsels of autonomy one is fed with to keep the darkness to some closed uarters of the conscience And the bitterness at the thought of how the sense of guilt melted only to congeal and harden as wax over the disordered dysfunctional lives ‘Oh Aila Aila Why did Aila never speak?'There is in Sonny a need for a certain kind of vocabulary There is the vocabulary of tranuil love of family matters comfortable silences which is so attuned to the language of the shared years that catching on learning and unlearning as per the demands the situation becomes difficult; Aila is the slow learner And the other one of politics; redundant abstruse exciting And the attraction that brews for a woman who crosses the political spheres to comfort console reassure and get entangled with the personal Needing Hannah The inescapable always Aila has never been granted subjectivity throughout the course of the story She is always the silent presence The son incessantly speaks of his mother but always as the nurturer who has been wronged by his father thus bringing destruction to their home The Sonny recedes into Hannah the Aila comes out of this objectified patriarchal notion of motherhood and femininity The cutting of her hair is disapproved by her son as a symbolic bowdlerization of the graceful womanhood that he always associates with his mother ‘She never came back cut loose She was gone for good my mother’But even this lack of subjectivity becomes purposeful in Gordimer’s representation of the revolutionary potential of a uiet ordinary unassertive woman who has now attained convictions and determination of her own in a political personal and narrative space largely dominated by patriarchal prejudices and activity


  2. Dana Susan Dana Susan says:

    Another wonderful book by Gordimer I thought this was a seamlessly written gem Again Gordimer tells a riveting story creates fully drawn characters brilliantly uses interior monologue and descriptive writing and at the same time inserts the insideousness of racism and the scars of apartheid between every lineReaders feel what it was like for blacks living in racist South Africa and also an insightful look at the evolution of a marriage a love affair a father son relationship and a young man's coming of age


  3. Eric Eric says:

    There is wisdom in this book per usual for Gordimer She understands family and revolution But I tired of Will's ferocity towards his cheating father and the father's fierce attachment to his lover Maybe another time


  4. Anusha Jayaram Anusha Jayaram says:

    First off Ineed to state this I am so happy to have had the good fortune to pick up this book For those of my friends who have heard of Blossoms bookshop this is yet another reason why it’s just SO awesome Second please do not read the section between the spoiler marks unless a You’ve already read this book orb You’re not planning to read this bookNow about the book itself what struck me the most is the sheer intelligence of the writer Nadine Gordimer knows how to manipulate the minds of her readers and hold them captive in the world she paints around her characters The theme of this book seems commonplace enough – an extra marital affair that gets found out But the backdrop against which it’s set race tensions and uprisings for euality combined with very complex characters makes it anything but commonplace Sonny initially a school teacher by profession is married to Aila and has two children Baby and Will Will aged fifteen at the start of the story stumbles upon Sonny’s affair with Hannah a white woman This forms the starting point and the basis for the entire novel I found I could naturally relate to the turmoil of this adolescent’s mind; introspecting so much obsessing so much He often sinks into negativity thinking through every aspect of his father’s affair Something that not only shattered his ideal of what he thought his parents’ lives were but also made him agonize over the details of his father’s secret life The inner workings of his father’s mind how he felt about his “other woman” as well as how he thought about his wife now Whether he felt shame guilt anything nothing A boy with his heart broken Broken by the man he looked up to throughout his life up until then The man who’d set such high ideals for his own self as well as his family The format of the book is an alternating narrative one from the point of view of Will the son and the other being Sonny’s his father’s side of the story The two facets seem to form a continuity – fitting like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle Spoiler startThe two sides of the same story are related with a great deal of seeming honesty from differing character’s points of view This lulls you into believing that what you read IS in fact a collage of two people stitching together a story Until the very end that is That’s when you realise your very premise is wrong And then you realise that all this while you had assumed both voices to be present in the narration Sometimes even three voices; Hannah’s story comes through occasionally although the dominant voices are those of the father and sonThe revelation that this premise is wrong is unsettling to say the least The entire story is narrated by one mind Will’s But that mind while narrating Sonny’s story is a different one from that of the isolated teenager’s you see initially to be Will’s It is Will putting himself in his father’s shoes Telling Sonny’s story with an empathy that only his son is capable of Will in a different stage of lifeThis revelation is also honest in its caveats You are warned at the very last page of the book that there might have been places where Will’s own judgements might have spilled over to what were supposed to be others’ stories It draws a thick screen of haze over the entire narrative you’ve just read Leaves you uestioning how much of what you’ve read is an unbiased account How much is portrayed “as it really was” It leaves all character outlines blurred Spoiler endMore about Gordimer’s writing What other writers take pages to convey through extensive description she does in a single sentence or in a couple of sentences But eually in order to process such complicated thought processes in very unorthodox sentence construction it takes immense concentration and ever re reading of a sentence multiple times You really need to lose yourself in this book emote with the characters to grasp what Gordimer is conveying at each moment She doesn’t waste words to ensure her reader is “with her” at every point It is up to the reader to empathize and thus comprehend her prose economical in its usage of wordsAnother feature which needs some getting used to is the excessive use of hyphens Almost every paragraph has one sentence strewn with hyphens unpredictable lengths of sentences separated by them While reading some reviews of this book before I picked it up I came across a few whose opinions were very different from my own during and after reading the book myself I do agree with one reviewer who pointed out the repeated usage of the “needing Hannah” device I too felt as I was progressing through the book that the phrase “needing Hannah” was used too often to remain poignant But given the richness of the rest of the book this seems like a trifling complaint However I certainly did not get impatient with the boy’s obsession and fretting about his father’s affair It was only too natural and formed the very foundation for the story That kind of a complaint from a reader would make this book an unsuitable choice for them


  5. Lynn Lynn says:

    Full review at Smoke Mirrors Okay finally done I get it I get the nuances etc of this narrative However Gordimer's writing style did not endear her to me as an author However with that said I would like to read her Booker prize winning novel The Conservationist This woman was awarded the Nobel in 1991 A white woman she fought Apartheid was raised and lived her life in South Africa so I feel she is genuinely steeped in the culture and able to accurately reflect it's political inadeuacies and prejudices and discriminatory laws and behaviors She didn't just study I'm thinking of Laughing Boy's author Oliver La Farge a societyculture she was a living and breathing person within it It appears that many of her novels deal with adulterous affairs I realize this is just my own prejudice but having been betrayed by a spouse I don't believe love is only discovered through extramarital affairs If you aren't going to be faithful within a monogamous relationship don't vow to do so It is a choice Stepping down from my soapbox now One of the things I most appreciated about this specific book is Will's character and voice It felt so sincere and bereft at being left out of the resistance being expected to always be there to keep the home fires burning so to speak This was a very interesting read about Apartheid I just wish I had resonated better with Gordimer's writing style I can certainly respect and admire her commitment and energies spent to fight Apartheid and her willingness to write and publish what were such controversialsubversive works in South Africa at the time I feel as if I have a much better understanding of this time period and place in history from a black family's perspective and that's a good thing


  6. Pragya Pragya says:

    35 stars


  7. Sakshi Sakshi says:

    My Son's Story is a tough read The prose is gritty but it is not evocative naturally; it instead engages the reader to look for a connection With each paragraph there is a feeling of discomfort The effort that goes to create and depict a unity between aspirations self of euality of freedom and context other of the anti apartheid movement in South Africa is distinctive The movement itself is not the highlight of the story It is a story of a transition from the innocence of adolescence to the harshness of realityThere came a point not possible to determine exactly when at which euality became a cry that couldn't be made out had been misheard or misinterpreted turned out to be something else finer FreedomThe struggle is deeply personal for Sonny and his family and it unfolds very differently for each member who becomes a part of it The magnetism of the fight I find is the essence of the resistance the felt voice of the collective The blacks were accustomed to closeness In ueues for transport for work permits for housing allocation for all the stamped paper that authorized their lives; loaded into overcrowded trains and buses fitting a family into one room they cannot keep the outline of space another invisible skin whites project around themselves distanced from each other in everything but sexual and parental intimacy One ultimate body of bodies was inhaling and exhaling in the single diastole and systole and above was the freedom of the great open afternoon skyThe family becomes the individual unit in the struggle and each member has a separate identity albeit a proclivity to follow the head of the household This subtle gender motif grounds the story very firmly in my mind Particularly the story of Aila the wife and mother While there is general attribution of imagination and change to the father there is an idea of continuity expressed through the silent wife and protective mother Aila It makes me feel the dynamics of family life otherwise and in times of crises; and here it is both in the private and public sphere family and the movementThe nature of work she Hannah did develops high emotions It arises from crises It deals only with disruption disjunction circumstances in peoples' lives that cannot be met with the responses that serve for continuityHannah's the lover position uestions continuity and in fact engages with the imagination and idea of resistance and change; uite the opposite to AilaThe revelation of the title I leave it for you to discover again establishes the story firmly in my mind The juxtaposition of the son's voice with the author depicts the generational perspective that emerges as a third layer of locating the story globally It makes the novel truly a work of literary merit


  8. Carrie Carrie says:

    My dear friend Carrie lent me this book which made me both elated I love getting book recommendations and nervous what if I didn't like it My fears were totally groundless though the book is awesome I had only heard of Gordimer in the context of a long New York Review of Books article about South African writers which as is sometimes the case with the NYRB made me feel like I knew everything about her and didn't need to actually read her work Big mistake And worse probably means I need to run out and grab me some Doris Lessing too No Coetzee though I read Disgrace and that was enough for meAnway My Son's Story takes place in South Africa before the end of apartheid It revolves around one black family and their experiences under that system It starts with the son Will exiting a movie theater one day to find his father clearly out on a date with another woman and a white one at that From that point it details the family history both before and after this incident Without giving too much away what blew me away about the novel is how deftly it intertwines the personal and the political Gordimer captures so clearly how no matter what no person who lived in this corrupt system whether an activist like his father or not like his mother could escape its tentacles What seems like two stories the political activity and the personal betrayal is really one story because the two are inseparable Sonny the father realizes at the end of the novel that regarding his revolutionary girlfriend Hannah the international activist ut the centre of life wasn't there with her the centre of life was where the banalities are enacted the fuss over births marriages family affairs with their survival rituals of food and clothing In this case it is true You cannot have one life with your revolutionary girlfriend and protect your family from it the center of life is with your family and no matter what you do it is all interconnected And those who are happiest are those like his mother and sister who embrace that the personal and political must be the same if one is to be a fulfilled person Neither Sonny who tries to separate the two nor Will who rejects the political entirely are whole people until the very last pages when Will embraces his own political act in the only way he couldThis is also a book about fathers and sons and how they wound each other and need each other and resent each other and feed off each other and that could be the subject of an honors thesis not just a blog post so I will leave it at that Very interesting stuff Go read My Son's Story you will be rewarded


  9. Stephen Durrant Stephen Durrant says:

    A young black South African who is playing hookey at a local cinema runs into his father a former school teacher and now an anti apartheid political activist in the company of a blond woman who is obviously his lover Thus begins a tale told primarily by the son of complex political and familial entanglements Gordimer is an astute observer of the way lives complicated enough already become even so in a treacherous and ever shifting political landscape like that which existed in her native South Africa for so many years She is also a master of shifting point of view and illustrates here not only how a son’s vision of his father slowly changes over time but also how that father’s action might be seen from perspectives outside of the family Still the tale of the family dominates and the biggest surprise in this novel comes from within the family That surprise should not be ruined here Suffice it to say that Gordimer is always a challenging and rewarding read I continue to be a very big fan


  10. Sally Sally says:

    'If he was responsible to the struggle then the struggle was responsible for him' September 15 2014 This review is from My Son's Story A Novel PaperbackThe story revolves around a 'coloured' family living under apartheid To begin with an ideal nuclear family father a teacher a beautiful mother and two children When the father accedes to his students' wishes that he accompany them on a protest march he is sacked and devotes himself full time to the cause And on the way falls in love with a white woman with the same aimsI found it hard to keep on with this one whether it's Ms Gordimer's writing style or the subject matter as the son's father rises in the ranks of Freedom Fighters with all the politics that entails


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10 thoughts on “My Son's Story

  1. Nidhi Singh Nidhi Singh says:

    Will playing truant bumps into his father with a white woman at a movie theater A narrative unfolds of reflections enmeshed with aggressive personal bitterness and the political upheaval of the times in South Africa Nadine Gordimer’s 'My Son’s Story' becomes the story of the son the father the mother and the father’s woman embedded in the interplay of race gender politics family love and commitment ‘It was because of them whose pigments darkened the blood procreated a murky dilution in the veins of the white town disowned by the white town’The black and the real black; what it is to have something of the white man in the veins It is not the same of course It cannot be grasped together in one sweeping gesture of the arm The segregation exists not only from the white people but also in the sense of a community based on ‘blackness’ and ‘real blackness’ ‘Better to keep them at distance and not recognize any feature in them'The act of segregation and how the family defies the suggestion even though it means comprehending their abode as a symbol of ghettoizing of indignity of degradation The personal is sacrificed for the public for an idea and a principle ‘The trouble was he didn’t feel himself inferior – inferior to what to whom?’‘Freedom’ isn’t the same as ‘Euality’ Euality is often processed into something finer called freedom Being free doesn’t mean an aspiration for euality which often reeks of envy for the one who is superior To become like those you have always hated and feared Who wants that? Until and unless that sense of inferiority has been sufficiently internalized with a pejorative sense of one’s self and identity ‘if she gave Sonny everything else of herself it would have been worth less if she had not kept to herself some fiber of personality as a separate identity’A marriage shared with an intuitive sense of togetherness an understanding which is instinctive and with a complicity of responses suffers from a distancing that happens with one disjointed experience followed by aloofness silent pain and withdrawal Aila becomes a silent steadfast presence throughout the novel The commitment to the community the acts of making it right for the others often invade the spaces of personal family relations and there is a feeling of usurpation of the ‘evenings’ the ‘picnics’ the ‘Saturdays’ spent together in the ‘grayness’ of the city And the latitude one gains with such elevation in the domain of the public in reshaping the personal mixing up its components here and there disordered and sometimes unattended ‘not to be followed in his private thoughts by ordinary people Like herself Like us’ ‘But he knows I can’t speak – to my mother; I can’t refuse to be in the know with him’The act of performing the slyness and the difference that can be smelled And the misery at such a discovery the ‘privilege’ of stumbling upon the darkness the secret and the change that comes with it as the slow seething poison that gushes in to corrupt the sanctity of long held faith and love sharedThe tiny guarded morsels of autonomy one is fed with to keep the darkness to some closed uarters of the conscience And the bitterness at the thought of how the sense of guilt melted only to congeal and harden as wax over the disordered dysfunctional lives ‘Oh Aila Aila Why did Aila never speak?'There is in Sonny a need for a certain kind of vocabulary There is the vocabulary of tranuil love of family matters comfortable silences which is so attuned to the language of the shared years that catching on learning and unlearning as per the demands the situation becomes difficult; Aila is the slow learner And the other one of politics; redundant abstruse exciting And the attraction that brews for a woman who crosses the political spheres to comfort console reassure and get entangled with the personal Needing Hannah The inescapable always Aila has never been granted subjectivity throughout the course of the story She is always the silent presence The son incessantly speaks of his mother but always as the nurturer who has been wronged by his father thus bringing destruction to their home The Sonny recedes into Hannah the Aila comes out of this objectified patriarchal notion of motherhood and femininity The cutting of her hair is disapproved by her son as a symbolic bowdlerization of the graceful womanhood that he always associates with his mother ‘She never came back cut loose She was gone for good my mother’But even this lack of subjectivity becomes purposeful in Gordimer’s representation of the revolutionary potential of a uiet ordinary unassertive woman who has now attained convictions and determination of her own in a political personal and narrative space largely dominated by patriarchal prejudices and activity

  2. Dana Susan Dana Susan says:

    Another wonderful book by Gordimer I thought this was a seamlessly written gem Again Gordimer tells a riveting story creates fully drawn characters brilliantly uses interior monologue and descriptive writing and at the same time inserts the insideousness of racism and the scars of apartheid between every lineReaders feel what it was like for blacks living in racist South Africa and also an insightful look at the evolution of a marriage a love affair a father son relationship and a young man's coming of age

  3. Eric Eric says:

    There is wisdom in this book per usual for Gordimer She understands family and revolution But I tired of Will's ferocity towards his cheating father and the father's fierce attachment to his lover Maybe another time

  4. Anusha Jayaram Anusha Jayaram says:

    First off Ineed to state this I am so happy to have had the good fortune to pick up this book For those of my friends who have heard of Blossoms bookshop this is yet another reason why it’s just SO awesome Second please do not read the section between the spoiler marks unless a You’ve already read this book orb You’re not planning to read this bookNow about the book itself what struck me the most is the sheer intelligence of the writer Nadine Gordimer knows how to manipulate the minds of her readers and hold them captive in the world she paints around her characters The theme of this book seems commonplace enough – an extra marital affair that gets found out But the backdrop against which it’s set race tensions and uprisings for euality combined with very complex characters makes it anything but commonplace Sonny initially a school teacher by profession is married to Aila and has two children Baby and Will Will aged fifteen at the start of the story stumbles upon Sonny’s affair with Hannah a white woman This forms the starting point and the basis for the entire novel I found I could naturally relate to the turmoil of this adolescent’s mind; introspecting so much obsessing so much He often sinks into negativity thinking through every aspect of his father’s affair Something that not only shattered his ideal of what he thought his parents’ lives were but also made him agonize over the details of his father’s secret life The inner workings of his father’s mind how he felt about his “other woman” as well as how he thought about his wife now Whether he felt shame guilt anything nothing A boy with his heart broken Broken by the man he looked up to throughout his life up until then The man who’d set such high ideals for his own self as well as his family The format of the book is an alternating narrative one from the point of view of Will the son and the other being Sonny’s his father’s side of the story The two facets seem to form a continuity – fitting like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle Spoiler startThe two sides of the same story are related with a great deal of seeming honesty from differing character’s points of view This lulls you into believing that what you read IS in fact a collage of two people stitching together a story Until the very end that is That’s when you realise your very premise is wrong And then you realise that all this while you had assumed both voices to be present in the narration Sometimes even three voices; Hannah’s story comes through occasionally although the dominant voices are those of the father and sonThe revelation that this premise is wrong is unsettling to say the least The entire story is narrated by one mind Will’s But that mind while narrating Sonny’s story is a different one from that of the isolated teenager’s you see initially to be Will’s It is Will putting himself in his father’s shoes Telling Sonny’s story with an empathy that only his son is capable of Will in a different stage of lifeThis revelation is also honest in its caveats You are warned at the very last page of the book that there might have been places where Will’s own judgements might have spilled over to what were supposed to be others’ stories It draws a thick screen of haze over the entire narrative you’ve just read Leaves you uestioning how much of what you’ve read is an unbiased account How much is portrayed “as it really was” It leaves all character outlines blurred Spoiler endMore about Gordimer’s writing What other writers take pages to convey through extensive description she does in a single sentence or in a couple of sentences But eually in order to process such complicated thought processes in very unorthodox sentence construction it takes immense concentration and ever re reading of a sentence multiple times You really need to lose yourself in this book emote with the characters to grasp what Gordimer is conveying at each moment She doesn’t waste words to ensure her reader is “with her” at every point It is up to the reader to empathize and thus comprehend her prose economical in its usage of wordsAnother feature which needs some getting used to is the excessive use of hyphens Almost every paragraph has one sentence strewn with hyphens unpredictable lengths of sentences separated by them While reading some reviews of this book before I picked it up I came across a few whose opinions were very different from my own during and after reading the book myself I do agree with one reviewer who pointed out the repeated usage of the “needing Hannah” device I too felt as I was progressing through the book that the phrase “needing Hannah” was used too often to remain poignant But given the richness of the rest of the book this seems like a trifling complaint However I certainly did not get impatient with the boy’s obsession and fretting about his father’s affair It was only too natural and formed the very foundation for the story That kind of a complaint from a reader would make this book an unsuitable choice for them

  5. Lynn Lynn says:

    Full review at Smoke Mirrors Okay finally done I get it I get the nuances etc of this narrative However Gordimer's writing style did not endear her to me as an author However with that said I would like to read her Booker prize winning novel The Conservationist This woman was awarded the Nobel in 1991 A white woman she fought Apartheid was raised and lived her life in South Africa so I feel she is genuinely steeped in the culture and able to accurately reflect it's political inadeuacies and prejudices and discriminatory laws and behaviors She didn't just study I'm thinking of Laughing Boy's author Oliver La Farge a societyculture she was a living and breathing person within it It appears that many of her novels deal with adulterous affairs I realize this is just my own prejudice but having been betrayed by a spouse I don't believe love is only discovered through extramarital affairs If you aren't going to be faithful within a monogamous relationship don't vow to do so It is a choice Stepping down from my soapbox now One of the things I most appreciated about this specific book is Will's character and voice It felt so sincere and bereft at being left out of the resistance being expected to always be there to keep the home fires burning so to speak This was a very interesting read about Apartheid I just wish I had resonated better with Gordimer's writing style I can certainly respect and admire her commitment and energies spent to fight Apartheid and her willingness to write and publish what were such controversialsubversive works in South Africa at the time I feel as if I have a much better understanding of this time period and place in history from a black family's perspective and that's a good thing

  6. Pragya Pragya says:

    35 stars

  7. Sakshi Sakshi says:

    My Son's Story is a tough read The prose is gritty but it is not evocative naturally; it instead engages the reader to look for a connection With each paragraph there is a feeling of discomfort The effort that goes to create and depict a unity between aspirations self of euality of freedom and context other of the anti apartheid movement in South Africa is distinctive The movement itself is not the highlight of the story It is a story of a transition from the innocence of adolescence to the harshness of realityThere came a point not possible to determine exactly when at which euality became a cry that couldn't be made out had been misheard or misinterpreted turned out to be something else finer FreedomThe struggle is deeply personal for Sonny and his family and it unfolds very differently for each member who becomes a part of it The magnetism of the fight I find is the essence of the resistance the felt voice of the collective The blacks were accustomed to closeness In ueues for transport for work permits for housing allocation for all the stamped paper that authorized their lives; loaded into overcrowded trains and buses fitting a family into one room they cannot keep the outline of space another invisible skin whites project around themselves distanced from each other in everything but sexual and parental intimacy One ultimate body of bodies was inhaling and exhaling in the single diastole and systole and above was the freedom of the great open afternoon skyThe family becomes the individual unit in the struggle and each member has a separate identity albeit a proclivity to follow the head of the household This subtle gender motif grounds the story very firmly in my mind Particularly the story of Aila the wife and mother While there is general attribution of imagination and change to the father there is an idea of continuity expressed through the silent wife and protective mother Aila It makes me feel the dynamics of family life otherwise and in times of crises; and here it is both in the private and public sphere family and the movementThe nature of work she Hannah did develops high emotions It arises from crises It deals only with disruption disjunction circumstances in peoples' lives that cannot be met with the responses that serve for continuityHannah's the lover position uestions continuity and in fact engages with the imagination and idea of resistance and change; uite the opposite to AilaThe revelation of the title I leave it for you to discover again establishes the story firmly in my mind The juxtaposition of the son's voice with the author depicts the generational perspective that emerges as a third layer of locating the story globally It makes the novel truly a work of literary merit

  8. Carrie Carrie says:

    My dear friend Carrie lent me this book which made me both elated I love getting book recommendations and nervous what if I didn't like it My fears were totally groundless though the book is awesome I had only heard of Gordimer in the context of a long New York Review of Books article about South African writers which as is sometimes the case with the NYRB made me feel like I knew everything about her and didn't need to actually read her work Big mistake And worse probably means I need to run out and grab me some Doris Lessing too No Coetzee though I read Disgrace and that was enough for meAnway My Son's Story takes place in South Africa before the end of apartheid It revolves around one black family and their experiences under that system It starts with the son Will exiting a movie theater one day to find his father clearly out on a date with another woman and a white one at that From that point it details the family history both before and after this incident Without giving too much away what blew me away about the novel is how deftly it intertwines the personal and the political Gordimer captures so clearly how no matter what no person who lived in this corrupt system whether an activist like his father or not like his mother could escape its tentacles What seems like two stories the political activity and the personal betrayal is really one story because the two are inseparable Sonny the father realizes at the end of the novel that regarding his revolutionary girlfriend Hannah the international activist ut the centre of life wasn't there with her the centre of life was where the banalities are enacted the fuss over births marriages family affairs with their survival rituals of food and clothing In this case it is true You cannot have one life with your revolutionary girlfriend and protect your family from it the center of life is with your family and no matter what you do it is all interconnected And those who are happiest are those like his mother and sister who embrace that the personal and political must be the same if one is to be a fulfilled person Neither Sonny who tries to separate the two nor Will who rejects the political entirely are whole people until the very last pages when Will embraces his own political act in the only way he couldThis is also a book about fathers and sons and how they wound each other and need each other and resent each other and feed off each other and that could be the subject of an honors thesis not just a blog post so I will leave it at that Very interesting stuff Go read My Son's Story you will be rewarded

  9. Stephen Durrant Stephen Durrant says:

    A young black South African who is playing hookey at a local cinema runs into his father a former school teacher and now an anti apartheid political activist in the company of a blond woman who is obviously his lover Thus begins a tale told primarily by the son of complex political and familial entanglements Gordimer is an astute observer of the way lives complicated enough already become even so in a treacherous and ever shifting political landscape like that which existed in her native South Africa for so many years She is also a master of shifting point of view and illustrates here not only how a son’s vision of his father slowly changes over time but also how that father’s action might be seen from perspectives outside of the family Still the tale of the family dominates and the biggest surprise in this novel comes from within the family That surprise should not be ruined here Suffice it to say that Gordimer is always a challenging and rewarding read I continue to be a very big fan

  10. Sally Sally says:

    'If he was responsible to the struggle then the struggle was responsible for him' September 15 2014 This review is from My Son's Story A Novel PaperbackThe story revolves around a 'coloured' family living under apartheid To begin with an ideal nuclear family father a teacher a beautiful mother and two children When the father accedes to his students' wishes that he accompany them on a protest march he is sacked and devotes himself full time to the cause And on the way falls in love with a white woman with the same aimsI found it hard to keep on with this one whether it's Ms Gordimer's writing style or the subject matter as the son's father rises in the ranks of Freedom Fighters with all the politics that entails

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