The Soft Voice of the Serpent and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer. New York. 1952. Simon & Schuster. 245 pages. hardcover. Jacket design By Robins and Eckstein.


soft voice of the serpentFROM THE PUBLISHER -


Only a few of Nadine Gordimer's short stories had been published in America at this book's publication - in The New Yorker, The Yale Review, The Virginia Quarterly - but her work has received lavish praise from reviewers across the globe and also in South Africa where she lived and wrote her stories. In this, her first volume of short stories published in the U. S., Nadine Gordimer makes us see and understand the unmistakable setting and origin of her own people - the native servant haunted by ambition to educate her children, the performance of a Wilde play before a stunned audience of Bantu people. Though the details and the human material are, in most cases, clearly South African in origin, yet always the people who are brought to sudden, startling life are universal. We may encounter them, their problems, and the incidents that form the pattern of their lives almost anywhere. One powerful theme runs through all Miss Gordimer's stories: the sense that people's exteriors, their faces, expressions, utterances, are totally unrevealing of the real persons beneath. The story ‘In the Beginning' is especially characteristic. Scott Fitzgerald have said, ‘We are all queer fish; queerer behind our faces and voices than we want anyone to know, or than we know ourselves.' Miss Gordimer has a directly opposite point of view. She thinks the outside is queer and unfriendly and putting-off. Underneath we are all more likable, more sensitive to each other than we know. Miss Gordimer has the gift of revealing through trifles. She is the roving camera that preserves and records much that is invisible to the average naked eye. And under her fearless guidance, a little more is added to our meager knowledge of the human heart. The short stories include: Is There Nowhere Else We Can Meet; The Soft Voice of the Serpent; Ah Woe Is Me; The Catch; The Train from Rhodesia; A Bit of Young Life; Six Feet of the Country; Which New Era Would That Be; Enemies; Happy Event; The Smell of Death and Flowers; Friday's Footprint; The Night the Favourite Came Home; The Bridegroom; The Last Kiss; The Gentle Art; Something for the Time Being; A Company of Laughing Faces; Not for Publication; A Chip of Glass Ruby; Good Climate Friendly Inhabitants; The African Magician; Some Monday for Sure; Abroad; Livingstone's Companions; An Intruder; Open House; Rain Queen; No Place Like; The Life of the Imagination; and Africa Emergent. 

Gordimer NadineAUTHOR BIOGRAPHY - Nadine Gordimer (20 November 1923 - 13 July 2014) 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's Daughter and July's People were banned. She was active in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress during the days when the organization was banned, and gave Nelson Mandela advice on his famous 1964 defence speech at the trial which led to his conviction for life. She was also active in HIV/AIDS causes.











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