Friday, 31 December 2010

July's People by Nadine Gordimer

My last 1001 book for the year! I was aiming for 30 this year and I just managed it.

July's People is set in South Africa at the time of the black uprising, white families houses were being destroyed, parts of the cities were bombed and many were killed. This novel tells the tale of the servant July's plight to save the white family he has worked for. He transports them to his home village were they take up residence in one of the mud huts. The focus of the story is on how this family, both parents and young children cope living in a traditional village, living without the conveiniences of a fridge, television and society life.

I enjoyed looking at this glimpse of a white family in a different setting - often novels focus on the servants reaction to the big city. However, I would have prefered to see more of the African's ways of life, they form a background rather than a character, even July of the title only comes and goes. My biggest gripe, and something many books annoy me with, is the writing of the children. Their speach and actions were way too old for the ages they were meant to be. A baby asking eloquently whether he can go to the ciniema, a three year old who communicates in full sentences and can be suspected of having stolen a car!


C.B. James said...

Maybe kids grow up faster in South Africa. ;=) I had that same problem with Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. There's a famous scene involoving two children. I won't describe it, just in case. But I've never believed two children would have acted or spoke the way Hardy describes them.

katrina said...

Jude's still on my tbr list, at least he has the excuse that men at that time didn't interact much with kids! :)