Get A Life by Nadine Gordimer - review by Ophelia Field

Ophelia Field

Ecology and Existence

Get A Life


Bloomsbury 187pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Get A Life is not about one life but four: it examines two marriages in South Africa, that of an ecologist named Paul and his wife Benni/Berenice (alternating names for the alternate ways in which she is viewed from one sentence to the next) and that of Paul’s parents, Lyndsay and Adrian.

In his thirties, Paul discovers he has thyroid cancer and may die. It says everything about Gordimer’s talent that the scene in which this news is delivered is so throat-tighteningly sad even within the first ten pages of the book. Paul’s treatment is discovered to require doses of radioactive iodine,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter