In the novel No Time Like The Present, Nadine Gordimer (Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1991) sets up an interesting plot and brings to life a cast of engaging characters. The setting is contemporary South Africa. A young bi-racial couple who met during their common struggle against Apartheid now lives in post-Apartheid South Africa.
This book is chock full of fascinating details about South Africa. Zulu tribal life, Jewish and Christian white culture, and refugees from other parts of Africa are only a few of the milieus explored. There are thought-provoking situations involving corruption of youthful ideals, the effect of poverty and poor education on democracy, and xenophobia in all its forms. This book deserves five stars for interesting content. The story is a good one and the author sets up interest/anxiety about what’s going to happen. It kept me reading.
The author obviously knows her subject thoroughly; however: she doesn’t bother to make her prose readable. There were too many sentences that had to be read multiple times to decipher the meaning. My tongue tripped over the syntax. The problems include simple things like to whom does a pronoun refer, and who is narrating? Standard mechanics of communication (using question and quotation marks appropriately) were not used. Word order can be a style choice, but when it results in obscuring meaning, I vote for clarity. There were far too many places where an unidentified narrator made inscrutable asides.
What a worthwhile project it would be to rewrite this novel into more readable English!