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Extended Audio Sample July’s People Audiobook, by Nadine Gordimer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,122 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nadine Gordimer Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781481507974
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For years, it has been what is called a “deteriorating situation.” Now it is war. All over South Africa, cities are battlegrounds, and radio and television stations are under siege. Bam and Maureen Smales take up their servant July’s suggestion and drive with their children to his remote home village. For fifteen years, July has been the decently treated black servant, totally dependent on them. Now, he becomes their host, their savior, and their keeper. Suddenly facing a hunted life of bare subsistence, owing their survival to July, the Smales are forced to look at him and at one another in an entirely new light. They find life utterly changed and harboring different dread and hope for each individual.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “So flawlessly written that every one of its events seems chillingly, ominously possible.”

    Anne Tyler, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist

  • “Gordimer’s art has achieved and sustained a rare beauty. Her prose has a density and sparsity that one finds in the greatest writers.” 

    New Leader

  • “Gordimer’s finely wrought novel works as both a survival story and a psychological tour de force…Both aspects are enhanced by Nadia May’s taut narration, especially her interpretations of July and his former employers.”

    Library Journal

  • “May’s reading is fully voiced. She effectively reads words of small peevish children, and she catches various moods and levels of feeling by the adults in the story.” 

    Kliatt

  • “Nadine Gordimer writes more knowingly about South Africa than anyone else.”

    Anatole Broyard, New York Times

  • “Gordimer knows this complex and emotional and political terriory all too well and writes about it superbly.”

    Newsweek

  • Winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christina Bowers | 2/12/2014

    " I'll be honest. I didn't finish it. It confused me and didn't grab me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mallory | 2/10/2014

    " Liked this more than i thought i would... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justin | 2/9/2014

    " It's "Trading Places" in Apartheid South Africa. Good times! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 1/30/2014

    " A story of the challenges in overcoming social class barriers in South Africa. This book doesn't necessarily bring out the best qualities in blacks and whites, but it does attempt to capture the unique essence of each. Relationships were ultimately portrayed as too transactional rather than genuine, with few slivers of opportunity presented for future integration and harmony. This book weaves a captivating tale but fails to deliver a moving message of hope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth Huergo | 1/24/2014

    " For anyone interested in exploring Gordimer's fiction, this short novel serves as a good starting point, both in terms of style and theme. The story explores how tentative and arbitrary our sense of the normative actually is, and how much bigotry is bound up in our ideas of the normative, of how things "simply are" or "should be." What appears as a staid, white, solidly middle-class breaks down very quickly at the approach of military conflict. The skills that the white characters use to negotiate their world are soon made irrelevant, even frivolous, while the skills and status of the black servant, July, are suddenly reframed within a different context. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron | 1/17/2014

    " This book took me by surprise. Set in Apartheid South Africa with a white family depending upon it's servant (July) for survival as they flee the burning riots, I didn't expect some of the dynamism that she gives to her characters. The book is much less about this family's struggle to get out of a very tough situation and much more about the changes and new roles the characters take on through the story. I really enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 1/17/2014

    " Now that some months have passed since I finished this, I keep forgetting what it was about which says to me that it's a good book but not a memorable one even though the topic should be. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nanette | 11/26/2013

    " Nadine Gordimer is an amazing writer but it's hard to read. An interesting perspective on apartheid. A black family protects his boss' family and they see first hand how the living conditions are. Eye opening. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 11/13/2013

    " A very good read. Gripping story about a white family caught up in the overthrow of white South Africa. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bart | 9/24/2013

    " Beautifully written and short, July's People is a slow read with little happenings. The crawl fits the location of the novel, a small village away from major uprisings in apartheid South Africa. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 6/19/2013

    " what i remember most was that gordimer's prose resembled being in a hot malaise, powerfully creating the setting and mood of her africa. if not for the malaise from being stuck in the most humid korean summer ever, i might have appreciated this book more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 5/18/2013

    " Came to this one (a bit guiltily) from Theroux's "Dark Star Safari." How did I miss this? The Nobel committee has great taste. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 5/14/2013

    " Perhaps the dashed and disjointed sparse writing style was a metaphor for the displaced and exchanged worlds of white and black South Africans when enough was enough. Only the children are not confused and remain a timeless, universal bastion of hope for peace on earth. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 10/7/2012

    " I'll have to admit to being a bit mystified by this book. Perhaps it was the unfamiliar setting compounded by the multiple-characters'-train-of-consciousness style. Perhaps it deserves another reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mohammad | 9/5/2012

    " Boring as hell, hard to follow b/c of the unique writing style of the author; I'm still not sure how it ended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 2/27/2012

    " left-leaning prosperous young family must take refuge in hut owned by their former servant when uprisings upend the status quo. No 'noble savage' here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Komodosam | 11/1/2011

    " I'm really not sure about this book. It's wonderfully written by Nadine Gordimer, but maybe I was expecting a bit more from one of South Africa's most recognised writers. Not much seems to happen... maybe I'm just missing something. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitriona | 9/14/2011

    " Wow. What a story, especially in it's day. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessie | 5/1/2011

    " It is a little challenging to suffer through the author's style at times: " the circumstances are incalculable in the manner in which they come about..." awkward! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alanna King | 4/17/2011

    " Explores race and class struggles in South Africa. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katrina | 4/12/2011

    " One of the primary books I wrote my undergrad thesis on. Very interesting book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 12/18/2010

    " Perhaps the dashed and disjointed sparse writing style was a metaphor for the displaced and exchanged worlds of white and black South Africans when enough was enough. Only the children are not confused and remain a timeless, universal bastion of hope for peace on earth. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessie | 11/2/2010

    " It is a little challenging to suffer through the author's style at times: " the circumstances are incalculable in the manner in which they come about..." awkward! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brittany | 8/31/2010

    " This was really difficult to get through, but parts have certainly stayed with me, and I doubt that they will just go away. I'm glad to have read this in school. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ctroskoph | 8/26/2010

    " This is one of my favorite books. Gordimer is one of the most difficult writers I have ever read but this book is well worth it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nancy | 8/2/2010

    " I'll have to admit to being a bit mystified by this book. Perhaps it was the unfamiliar setting compounded by the multiple-characters'-train-of-consciousness style. Perhaps it deserves another reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah | 6/3/2010

    " since i can't give this book a 2.5, i just rounded up to 3. this book was very confusing but once on gets used to it, it is actually kind of beautiful in its words "

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About the Author
Author Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer (1923–2014) was born in South Africa. She received numerous international prizes for her writing, including the Modern Language Association Award, the Bennett Award, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. She was given honorary degrees by Yale, Harvard, and other universities and was honored by the French government with the decoration Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.