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Zander, Laura A. (2022): No Time Like the Present: The Ambiguous Aesthetics of Nadine Gordimer's Late Style. In: Current Writing-Text and Reception in Southern Africa, Vol. 34, No. 1: pp. 42-54

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For over 60 years, Nadine Gordimer has chronicled South Africa's changing political climate. Her final novel, No Time Like the Present (2012), has therefore been received primarily as fictionalised historiography that traces and reflects on the woes and the accomplishments of the young democracy. However, so far, this narrow emphasis on historical reality has led to the neglect of the imaginative vision of the novel. I would like, instead, to pursue two contrastive readings. In 'Writing Back,' I will read the novel as political chronicle and lay out to what degree it advocates historical contingency. In reflecting on the 'present' as perennially troubled by former apartheid policy, it provides insight into the specific historical period of the first decade of the new millennium. In 'Reading Forward,' I will shift the focus to Gordimer's aesthetics, in particular her language, style and character conceptualisation to align Gordimer's political project with her aesthetic one, ultimately allowing for form and content to be framed as one intricate coherent whole.

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