Paperback review: No Time Like The Present, By Nadine Gordinmer


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The Independent Culture

Jabulile Gumede, a black woman, and Steven Reed, a white man, were comrades in the fight against apartheid.

In the new South Africa they are free to marry and raise a family together. But fresh problems threaten the future of the inclusive democracy they fought for, and they come to realise that "class difference could take over from colour in what's going to be made of freedom". Like much of her previous work, Nadine Gordimer's latest is an intimate state-of-the-nation novel, exploring the shifting line between the personal and the political. As Jabulile and Steven settle into comfortable middle-class careers – she in law; he in academia – they struggle to balance social responsibility with their own ambitions. With extraordinary subtlety and restraint, Gordimer delineates the limits of political commitment.