Read The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer Online


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 culturNadine 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 culture of dissension. ...

Title : The Lying Days
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780860683131
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 378 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Lying Days Reviews

  • Keryn
    2019-04-07 07:35

    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 still in use then, and the taxi that took me to my hotel passed smoothly between the green of the airport with its fringe of umbrella trees on one side and the sea deep green behind a low bank of bush on the other...the plan of Durban is very simple and sensible: the visitors live in a long strip of hotels, spread for more than a mile along the beachfront; the town lies immediately behind that, on either side of West Street which lifts up from the sea; the residents live behind that, up in the hills..."I expected more overt racial violence in the book but instead the story portrays the hidden nature of the suffering so effectively through a coming-of-age romantic human drama, as well as the slow awakening of the young Helen to the injustices around her, being born into the privileged white society of the local mine. The simplicity of this awakening of a young adult is almost more shocking in its understated nature, than if the message were reported by a more mature narrator:"We were all like sleepers, coming awake from a long lull of acceptance. I know that I, who for all my childhood had lived surrounded by natives who simply attended our lives in one function of another...found with real consciousness of strangeness and wonderment that I was beginning to think of them as individually human."Well worth the read, and recommended for a possible English set work in high school Grade 11...

  • Robin
    2019-04-03 12:19

    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.Wonderful art!

  • Margaret1358 Joyce
    2019-03-31 10:30

    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.

  • José Toledo
    2019-04-22 12:18

    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.

  • MelanieHilliard
    2019-04-20 11:21

    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.

  • Jessica
    2019-04-04 14:28

    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!

  • Tracy
    2019-04-01 08:31

    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.

  • Athena
    2019-04-04 14:22

    too boring...did not hold my attention

  • Ali
    2019-04-06 09:28

    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 slow, dreamlike quality to much of the narrative, sections where little happens, and in that perhaps we see the inexperience of a first time novelist. There is however, still so much to admire in this, South African novel of a young woman’s political and emotional emergence into a complex, divided society. “Statutes and laws and pronouncements may pass over the heads of the people whom they concern, but shame does not need the medium of literacy. Humiliation goes dumbly home – a dog, a child too small to speak can sense it – and it sank right down through all the arid layers of African life in the city and entered the blood even of those who could not understand why they felt and acted as they did, or even knew that they felt or acted.”Our narrator is Helen Shaw who grows up in the white community that surrounds the Atherton gold mine where her father is secretary. Here within a fairly privileged, sheltered white world – Helen is an only child, cossetted by a mother’s who has never sought to question anything around her. The family have a large, comfortable house, a black servant, Anna looks after the domestic tasks, but she lives outside the house in a small dwelling behind the main house. The family and the other white people associated with the mine, socialise only with one another. Meanwhile the black mine workers have little impact upon the lives of these white people whose very world is designed to come into contact with them as little as possible. For the first seventeen years of her life, this is the only world that Helen knows. Then, Helen is allowed to go and spend the summer with Mrs Koch a family friend on the coast. Here Helen meets Ludi, a soldier on leave, Mrs Koch’s son, is a lot older than Helen, sensual and a little unconventional, he begins to show Helen that there is another world than the one she grew up in.Full review

  • Madhuri
    2019-03-25 10:27

    Coming of age with disillusionThere 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 feels for the people standing below, and semi heartedly makes a case for equality. But she is also not ready to give up her chair, and the guilt of this inaction nags at her. In the end, she acknowledges that she can't run from the tragedy of her nation, and will be part of it, even if with disillusion.

  • Jeweleye
    2019-04-04 07:34

    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 to just sit and read.

  • Megan
    2019-04-12 09:22

    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.

  • Jenny Stratton
    2019-04-09 07:25

    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.

  • Maggie
    2019-04-05 12:38

    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.

  • Shelby
    2019-04-07 09:41

    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.

  • Lyn
    2019-04-20 14:17

    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.

  • Suzanne
    2019-04-10 10:39

    Beautiful and exquisite writing about a girl becoming a woman during the changing history of South Africa.

  • Amy
    2019-04-21 14:41

    Another favorite

  • Maria
    2019-04-23 12:21

    Couldn't get into this one at all.Shall maybe return to it later.

  • Brandon
    2019-03-26 11:42

    This will be my third book club book, I'm very excited to find it and begin it!

  • Lisa
    2019-04-07 13:38

    very interesting - is it autobiographical?

  • Evie
    2019-03-28 13:39

    According to my notes I read this in 2005. I can't remember a thing about it...