Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Get A Life" by Nadine Gordimer

I am about a third of the way through this short novel, and I have the following observations:

1. It's all telling, with few dramatized scenes and almost no dialogue.
2. There is no "story question" where the reader wonders "will X happen to Y?"
3. It is unclear who the protagonist is, or if there is one at all.
4. Ms. Gordimer has clearly read Virginia Woolf.
5. Reading this book sort of feels like being pushed around, but I like it anyway.

To sum up, it's a pretty good read. The kind of book people who don't like literary fiction will point to as an example of what's wrong with literary fiction, showing how little they know about literary fiction and why we don't listen to their complaints.


Chapter 18 continues apace in my WIP! Things are going well, and I've made it through the internal-monologue portion of the chapter and am in the transitional scene leading to the battle of philosophies in an abandoned library, which will end with death threats! Excitement! And inside jokes:

Hamlet or not Hamlet? Was that the question?

Hopefully I'll post an excerpt towards the end of the week, maybe the bit about Ptolemy, Copernicus and Brahe, 'cause that's good stuff.

wordcountometer ~= 62,400!

It occurs to me today that possibly, if I don't slack off, I can finish this draft by the end of September. We'll see. I'd love it if that happened.


  1. That would be great if you could finish this in September. Good luck! I haven't read anything of Gordimer's. I know very little about her. But, I'll check this out.

  2. I love Gordimer. Wasn't always like that, especially when I had to read "The Conservationist" as part of graduation, but I love her now.

  3. Sounds like I need to read that book. And yay for your progress. I hope you can finish by September, too. :)

  4. I'd never read any Gordimer before I bought this book. She won the Nobel Prize, you know. I don't know if she'll become one of my favorites, but I'm certainly enjoying this. The next book I read will be a novella by a writer some of you might already know.

  5. I can't wait to read an excerpt of Chapter 18.

    After reading this post, I went read the first page of 'Get a Life' on Amazon and really liked her style- putting this on my list!

    Oh and a very Happy Birthday to you!!