The Conservationist

The Conservationist


By (author) Nadine Gordimer


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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 196mm x 20mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 24 February 1983
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140047166
  • ISBN 13: 9780140047165
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 71,482

Product description

Mehring, a wealthy, dominating South African industrialist moves to preserve his way of life, his power, and his possessions in the face of massive injustice and suffering, changing times, and death.

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Author information

Nadine Gordimer is the author of eleven previous novels, as well as collections of stories and essays. She has received many awards, including the Booker Prize (for The Conservationist in 1974) and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Review quote

"A triumph of stle ... It is not often that lyrical intelligence and political pupose are combined in so effective a way." --Paul Theroux "Gordimer has written what must be considered her masterpiece. The beauty and largeness of this land she loves is drawn with a breadth and scope that is breathtaking." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch "This is a novel of enormous power." --The New Statesman

Editorial reviews

A novel with the same carefully exhaled quality of Gordimer's short stories - less like storytelling than a conceptual painting. Visualize a symbolic black corpse posted at either end like the pillars of hell, and in between an expanse of bleached grasses and baked, repetitive hills - the terrain of a white South African's consciousness. Mehring is a successful Johannesburger who has acquired a farm, whether for trysts with a radical woman, or as a tax write-off, or to indulge a common fantasy - it doesn't matter. The woman has fled the country and the fiscal motive was never more than a cover for sexual pragmatism, and as for his weekend communion with the land, it is only the affinity of one brute nature for another. Mehring's cynicism allows him to be an honest conservative but precludes all human attachment. The political status quo, the veld, himself are locked into a single system of inertias which Gordimer prophecies shall suffer under one law, verified here by a post-diluvian vision and a judgment. . . . Instead of direct narrative and interpretation, there is a density of implication which makes for resistant reading but which nonetheless demonstrates, once again and beyond question, Gordimer's art. (Kirkus Reviews)