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Siddhartha DebThese stories aren't mere exercises. Even as variations, with a fixed set of characters confronting similar situations, they create discrete, pulsating worlds. None of the characters are aware that their situations echo a common theme. Their lives are unique, and the endings they stumble toward are all-encompassing, complete, inevitable. It is Gordimer's special skill that she can both make us feel the distinct yearnings of these characters, where nothing else matters, and allow us to stand back and perceive the parts they play in a larger collective pattern. As she always has, Gordimer offers her readers a rare combination of intimacy and transcendence.
—The New York Times