The Pickup

The Pickup

Book - 2001
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The Nobel Laureate's psychologically penetrating story of the love affair between a rich South African and the illegal alien she "picks up" on a whim Who picked up whom? Is the pickup the illegal immigrant desperate to evade deportation to his impoverished desert country? Or is the pickup the powerful businessman's daughter trying to escape a priveleged background she despises? When Julie Summers' car breaks down in a sleazy street, at a garage a young Arab emerges from beneath the chassis of a vehicle to aid her. The consequences develop as a story of unpredictably relentless emotions that overturn each one's notion of the other, and of the solutions life demands for different circumstances. She insists on leaving the country with him. The love affair becomes a marriage-that state she regards as a social convention appropriate to her father's set and her mother remarried in California, but decreed by her 'grease monkey' in order to present her respectably to his family. In the Arab village, while he is dedicated to escaping, again, to what he believes is a fulfilling life in the West, she is drawn by a counter-magnet of new affinities in his close family and the omnipresence of the desert. A novel of great power and concision, psychological surprises and unexpected developments, The Pickup is a story of the rites of passage that are emigration/immigration, where love can survive only if stripped of all certainties outside itself.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374232108
Characteristics: 270 p. ; 22 cm


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Jul 21, 2014

She's a good writer, but reminds me too much of Margaret Atwood. Difficult to enjoy reading her novels, she thinks too much and leaves little room for the reader to think for themselves.

Jun 25, 2014

This novel explores issues of race and class privilege in contemporary South Africa. By intertwining the lives of wealthy, white Julie with Ibrahim, an illegal immigrant from the Middle East, Gordimer captures the social complexity that can occur when people become aware of, and uncomfortable with, their own privilege. Gordimer demonstrates that though it is a positive thing to be aware of privilege, what too often happens is that the privileged remain so wrapped up in their own views and problems that they overlook the complex lives of the less privileged around them, and the "solutions" they enact end up being more self-serving and narrowminded than helpful for social change.


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