This is not light reading; if you're looking for something to graze over while you sit at the pool, look elsewhere. If, however, you're looking to be challenged, to learn, to have your ideas and opinions broadened, Nadine Gordimer's works, in general, and this book in particular, will fill you to brimming if you will take the time and energy to plumb its depths. Many have written about Apartheid, but Gordimer does so with such depth and gravity and coherence and novelty, it's hard to grasp just how ambitious an undertaking this book really is.
My favorite element is the conceit she employs of the protagonist, Rosa Burger, and her connection, ambivalence to, and ultimate embracing of, being "Burger's Daughter." It's her story, most of all, of coming to terms with her individuality, her own self-determination, her own sense of justice and humanity, and discovery of her deepest beliefs; the luxury she has, as a white woman in her society, of being able to make these psychological, spiritual and physical journies. The arguments of apartheid, communism, social movements and injustices are all deep and involving, but play second fiddle to the real issue of the book, the right of self-determination for all people. Rosa ultimately capitulates to the same fate as did her father, but it is her choice, come upon by examining herself and what she values. You can't help but think that Gordimer is ruminating the odds of whether or not the rest of the populace of her native land will ever get the same chance in their lifetimes.