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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle tale of opposing cultures and experience.
This is a wonderfully subtle story of shifting loyalties and opposing cultures. Julie, the spoiled rich liberal South African white girl picks up Abdu, the Arab immigrant who works fixing cars in a local garage. In her freedom, she takes him on - he is an adventure for her. His foreignness is a slap in the face for her middle-class family whom she despises for their...
Published on 1 Feb. 2002 by A. C. MCLEAN

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3.0 out of 5 stars Islam and the West
Julie Summers comes from a privileged Johannesburg background. Working as a publicity agent she meets “Abdu”, a mechanic at a local garage who repairs her car. They begin a love affair, but there is a problem because Abdu’s visa has expired and he is living and working illegally in South Africa. Bureaucracy catches up with Abdu (real name Ibrahim), and...
Published 5 months ago by Douglas Kemp

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle tale of opposing cultures and experience., 1 Feb. 2002
By 
A. C. MCLEAN "elfi mac" (Saffron Walden, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pickup (Hardcover)
This is a wonderfully subtle story of shifting loyalties and opposing cultures. Julie, the spoiled rich liberal South African white girl picks up Abdu, the Arab immigrant who works fixing cars in a local garage. In her freedom, she takes him on - he is an adventure for her. His foreignness is a slap in the face for her middle-class family whom she despises for their materialism. But Abdu sees in them the success he desires for himself. He is also shocked by her lack of family feeling.
Abdu is an illegal immigrant. His time runs out and he has to return to the desert country he despises. She decides to come with him. Is this another adventure for her - something else she can take up and put down again when she's bored with it?...
Nadine Gordimer has written a powerful and thought-provoking novel that combines strong characterisation with important issues of the relationship between the rich and the poor in the modern world. At first Julie's liberal values seem empty in the face of the greater wisdom of Abdu's Islamic traditions of family, respect, and honour. But she comes to seem the more mature of the two. It's Abdu's hankering after the material success of the glittering white world that seems shallow. The Pickup is a book that draws you in and makes you think hard about the stereotypes the rich and the poor worlds have of each other. Nadine Gordimer is a consummate portraitist of the human dilemma and this is her best book for many years.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read!, 14 Dec. 2001
This review is from: The Pickup (Hardcover)
I have finished a wonderful book: The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer. I re-discovered this writer last year when I read The House Gun. Her new book is set in todays South Africa and an unnamed poor North African desert country. It features the relationship between a rich white woman in search of herself and an Arab migrant worker who is expelled from SA. She accompanies him to his homeland and immersion in arab society. Gordimer's entry into that society is very convincing. She writes with such confidence taking risks with internal dialogue which occasionally leave the reader confused but this does not detract from the intimate sensitivity of her exploration of the main protagonists' mind sets. There is a marvellous topical fragment where she touches the sources of islamic fundamentalism deftly uncovering its social and political roots. This is a must read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of a nobel prize winner., 30 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: The Pickup (Paperback)
This story is not straightforward, as life is not straightforward. The writing is not always clear, as life, as our thoughts, are not always clear. It highlights the relationship between the spoilt rich, and the lasting poor in a refreshing and not at all preachy way. Contrary to some reviewers, I could empathize with all the characters in the book, however different their viewpoints. This is a book, worthy of a nobel prize winner.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Islam and the West, 10 Nov. 2014
By 
Douglas Kemp (Northamptonshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pickup (Kindle Edition)
Julie Summers comes from a privileged Johannesburg background. Working as a publicity agent she meets “Abdu”, a mechanic at a local garage who repairs her car. They begin a love affair, but there is a problem because Abdu’s visa has expired and he is living and working illegally in South Africa. Bureaucracy catches up with Abdu (real name Ibrahim), and despite efforts to overturn the decision, he has no alternative but to depart. Here Julie makes the decision to accompany him to his unnamed and impoverished Islamic Middle Eastern country. They marry, and notwithstanding the incredulity of her family, they go to live with his family in a small village on the edge of the desert.
Julie begins her new life in the bosom of his extended family and slowly adapts and embraces the life of the Muslim wife. Meanwhile, Ibrahim is engaged in a constant battle to find a new western country that will take him – a poor immigrant. Julie, as the privileged and wealthy white woman would have no problems in getting a visa to wherever she might want to go. And when Ibrahim is finally successful, with the assistance of Julie’s mother in California, Julie makes another surprising decision.
Unusually for Nadine Gordimer’s longer fiction, a good part of this story takes place outside of South Africa. It is an alien environment and a wholly new culture for Julie, and the clear message is in the near-unbridgeable differences between the wealthy white west and the crushing poverty and limitations that the non-religious ambitious individual can feel in such countries as Ibrahim’s place of birth.
The style is in Gordimer’s familiar discursive delivery that demands due attention from the reader, and it is meaningful and intelligent novel.
There is a welcome short appearance by Hamilton Motsamai, who played a major role as the defending barrister in Gordimer’s previous novel The House Gun.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted characters and thoughtfully written, 19 July 2013
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This review is from: The Pickup (Kindle Edition)
My first Nadine Gordimer and certainly not my last. Gordimer knows how to set the tone, shape the characters and walk you slowly through someone's experience. She writes beautifully and although this is Romeo and Juliet, it is without cliche because of the depth and quality of her writing and originality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It is very nice, 2 May 2013
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This review is from: The Pickup (Paperback)
It is a very nice book, although I bought it for my friends, she likes it very much. it is a great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Pickup (Paperback)
Item was as described and arrived quickly
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't bother to pick this one up, 10 Jun. 2005
This review is from: The Pickup (Paperback)
Nadine Gordimer's fractured style of writing frequently works beautifully in her novels and short stories. Unfortunately this is not the case here. There are far too many fundamental flaws within the narrative to class it as one of her success stories. The characters are sketchily drawn and unengaging, but worse they are unsympatheticaly portrayed and this is dangerous territory for the writer of romatic fiction to explore. Of course Gordimer, as one of South Africa's leading political activists and most out spoken critics of apartheid, is far more than simply a fiction writer and her work frequently offers a direct political engagement with the world in which she is writing. Sadly she seems to have lost her way with The Pickup. As previously mentioned the protagonists of the story are thinly portrayed, the physical attraction between them is clear but that is the extent of the readers understanding of this relationship which encounters obstacle after obstacle yet still remains strong. Gordimers writing style veers from cooly removed into plain distancing and I have found myself wondering why I have perservered with two characters who frankly have so little to them. Many of the issues the story raises; the difficulty of maintaining a relationship in a country where one half of the partnership is considered an undesirable immigrant, the clashing of cultures and privelege and the lingering legacy of institutionalised racism, are very pertinent and pose many difficult questions. However, as a love story the novel has little to offer and ultimately I found that by the end of the novel I no longer cared what would happen to our troubled lovers.
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It wasn't on the Booker Long List for a reason !, 29 Oct. 2001
This review is from: The Pickup (Hardcover)
Ok, I'll be honest I bought the book because I liked the cover!
Whilst the book is a pleasant enough read there is a lack of depth to the main characters and little interaction in their developing(?) relationship. There is an emptiness, an isolation, in this book.
I just found it a little frustrating and I finished it but could not recommend it.
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The Pickup
The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer (Paperback - 7 Oct. 2002)
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