Gordimer is praised for her body of work in both long and short fiction. Critics commend her ability to reflect the changing times in South Africa through stories that demonstrate what daily life is like for the people living in that nation. Many scholars find Gordimer’s perspective to be of great literary and historical value. In Contemporary Literature, Nancy Bazin notes:
Nadine Gordimer says she is not a political person; yet her writings document, decade by decade, the impact of politics on personal lives and what an increasingly radical white South African woman felt, thought, and imagined during the rise and fall of apartheid.
Echoing these sentiments, Rowland Smith, writing in Dictionary of Literary Biography praises Gordimer’s work as a means of tracing the dramatic social and political changes in South Africa over the course of her life. He writes:
Gordimer’s career is remarkable for the range of work she has produced and for the consistently penetrating analyses of her society that she offers. The changes of emphasis in those analyses have been remarkably constant indicators of the changes in the society itself.
Graham Huggan notes in Research in African Literatures that Gordimer’s contributions as a chronicler of contemporary South African experience come as much from her short stories as from her novels. Huggan is just one of many critics who applaud Gordimer’s accomplishments in the short story genre. He comments, ‘‘Gordimer has proved herself over time to be one of the foremost exponents in the world of the modern short story.’’ Describing specific strengths of Gordimer’s writing, Smith observes, ‘‘Her irony and accuracy produce compassionate indictments of the folly and tyranny of the apartheid state in which she lived since its...
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