The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer

The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer is one of the books I read for my Read the nobels challenge. I finished it a few days ago, but didn't start writing my review because I was afraid I wouldn't do the book justice.

The story is set in modern-day South Africa. The main character is Julie Summers, a white young woman, daughter of a prominent citizen, who lives in the Johannesburg suburb. When her car breaks down, she meets a black man who calls himself Abdu, a Muslim immigrant who is in the country illegally, seeking refuge from his unnamed Arab homeland.

Julie and Abdu soon become lovers, and she tries to bring him into her own inner circle--introducing him to her friends and her father. But when the authorities discover Abdu, he is forced to go back to his country. Julie decides to follow him: the two marry and head off to the small African country where Abdu came from. There, Julie learns Abdu's real name, Ibrahim, for the first time.

Now Julie is the outsiders, and must struggle to be accepted by Ibrahim's family. But while Ibrahim tries to escape again, applying for a visa to every Western country he knows, Julie likes contemplating the desert and teaching English to the villagers.

Ultimately, Julie and Ibrahim love each other, but are unable to understand each other's background and motives. Nadine Gordimer portarys here a relationship between two people of different culture, who have a strong physical attraction, but cannot understand each other completely.

This is a very interesting novel, one I'd recommend to people interested in cross-cultural relationships.

Cross-posted at Out of the Blue

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© Read the NobelsMaira Gall