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The house gun
Nadine Gordimer
Adult Fiction GORDIMER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When a society breeds violence, its effects filter into the lives of its most privileged citizens. As she has done so trenchantly throughout her career, Nobel Prize winner Gordimer (None to Accompany Me) again examines moral questions in microcosm through the lives of her South African characters. Here, an upperclass professional couple‘insurance executive Harald and physician Claudia Lindgard‘face the unthinkable when their 27-year-old son, Duncan, in a fit of passion, picks up the "house gun," a staple item in many affluent households for protection against marauders, and shoots a man who has doubly betrayed him. Part of the power of this fascinating novel derives from the depiction of the senior Lindgards' progression of emotions: disbelief that their son could commit such an act, followed by guilt about their shortcomings as parents and, finally, abandonment of their genteel ethics as they plead to Duncan's brilliant, suave black lawyer to just get their son off. Reeling in amazement as they learn about the complicated relationships in Duncan's life, they gain insights into parts of the culture (gay, black, sexually free) they had never encountered. A trial scene twinging with suspense offers further glimpses into the progress made and the tensions still present in post-apartheid South Africa. Yet Gordimer never loses her focus on the dramatic nuances of human character, and her narrative, though related in cool prose, resonates with compassion. If once or twice she can't resist didactic statements ("Violence desecrates freedom. That is what the country is doing to itself."), the message of this powerful novel is rings true. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Harald and Claudia, highly successful professionals (he heads up an insurance company, she is a physician), find their comfortable life in post-apartheid South Africa turned upside down when their only son is accused of murdering one of his housemates, using the communal "house gun" they had purchased for protection. The parents are dumbfounded when Duncan does not deny the crime. How could their son be a murderer, and are they somehow to blame? Duncan acted out of jealousy, but was it heterosexual jealousy or something else? He is going to be defended by a black attorney. Will the attorney's lack of courtroom experience be a liability, or will his race favorably influence the judge? Harald and Claudia are ashamed to find themselves asking these questions. Nobel laureate Gordimer's book is much more ambitious than the plot-driven thrillers of Scott Turow or John Grisham. It is a novel of ideas that investigates troubling issues of race and gender, but it is also a subtle character study that avoids easy stereotypes. Gordimer's trademark prose style, with its sudden shifts of voice and points of view, seems especially well suited to capturing the moral ambiguities of South African life. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/97.]‘Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Harold Lingard

Claudia Lingard

Duncan Lingard
Age: 27
On trial for murder.

Hamilton Motsamai

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