323pp., paperback, Reprint, London, (1974) 2005
Joint winner of the 1974 Booker Prize.
Mehring, a rich, white South African farmer ... He thinks he is a good, generous boss to his farm labourers; we see an oppressor who contemptuously believes he can win friendship with free cigarettes. He imagines himself a careful steward of his farm; we see an unwanted alien, out of tune with the rhythms of the land. He regards himself as an enlightened, intelligent free thinker, too smart to attend the superficial world of drunken parties and clinical sex in the white South African diaspora. We see a loveless, thoughtless bigot and sexual predator ... This double-edged writing constantly jabs at our conscience ... The intensity of this writing requires serious concentration, especially when coupled with an impressionistic narrative that skips backwards and forwards over time and situates us right inside Mehring's head - an increasingly unpleasant place to be. It's hard work - but is correspondingly effective ... After reading The Conservationist, it's easy to see why its author would go on to achieve such acclaim, why Seamus Heaney would praise her as a 'guerrilla of the imagination'" Sam Jordison, The Guardian
"Gordimer has undoubtedly become one of the World's Great Writers ... her rootedness in a political time, place and faith has never dimmed her complex gifts as an artist" Independent
Nadine Gordimer's novels include The Lying Days, My Son's Story, Burger's Daughter, July's People, A World of Strangers, The House Gun and None To Accompany Me. Her collections of short stories include The Soft Voice of the Serpent, Something Out There, Jump, Loot and Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. She died in 2014.