Get a Life, Hardback Book
2.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Paul Bannerman, an ecologist in Africa, believes he controls the trajectory of his life, with the markers of vocation and marriage.

But when he's diagnosed with thyroid cancer and prescribed treatment that makes him radioactive and for a period a danger to others, he questions, as Auden wrote, 'What authority gives/ Existence its surprise.' Taken in by his parents, businessman Adrian and successful lawyer Lyndsay, to protect his wife and child from radiation, back in his childhood garden he faces the contradiction between the values of his conservation work and those of his wife, an advertising agency executive.

While threat of projects to build a nuclear reactor and drain the country's vital wetlands preoccupy Paul, the strange state of his existence leads his mother to face her own past.

With Paul cured and normality apparently returned, his parents take a holiday in Mexico to fulfil the archaeological vocation his father missed.

The consequence of this is the final surprise of passionate existences.


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Nadine Gordimer is a brilliant author. She starts off her books at a slow pace, then the story suddenly picks up a whirlwind speed and the equations alter significantly.Get a Life is about a man's emotions on being quarantined after receiving radioactive treatment for cancer, and how he rebonds with his mother and takes a look at his life during this phase.As is usual with Nadine's themes, she weaves in racial divisions and moral questions into the story.A good read. And a great author.

Review by

I hadn't read any of Nadine Gordimer's books before and after this I'm not sure I'll be in a hurry to read any more. Uninvolving plot and characters together with a difficult writing style don't make things easy. There is no doubt that Ms Gordimer is a clever and intelligent writer. The fault probably lies with me in that I didn't think the reward from trying harder with the book would be worth the effort. Or maybe this was a good writer just churning out another novel to keep the production line going and the brain ticking over.

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