The New Yorker: Fiction

WNYC Studios and The New Yorker

Arts, Literature

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Literature 4

A monthly reading and conversation with the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman.


Tessa Hadley Reads Nadine Gordimer

September 6th, 2012

Episode 133 of 226 episodes

In this month's fiction podcast, Tessa Hadley reads "City Lovers," a story by the South African writer and 1991 Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer. The story, which was published in The New Yorker in 1975, focusses on a love affair between a white man and a "colored" woman in Apartheid South Africa. It's deeply political in its details--the man is a geologist at a mining company, the couple's affair is illegal, and they cover it up by pretending that she is his servant. But Gordimer writes with a focussed intimacy that makes the piece a tragic love story rather than a political morality tale. "One of the things I think she can teach us," says Hadley, "is how to write politically without becoming shrill."