Book summary: Get a Life

2005 BY NADINE GORDIMER

Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer follows the inner lives of characters confronted by unforeseen circumstances. Paul Bannerman, an ecologist in South Africa, believes he understands the trajectory of his life, with the usual markers of vocation and marriage. But when he's diagnosed with thyroid cancer and, after surgery, prescribed treatment that will leave him radioactive-and for a period a danger to others-he begins to question, as Auden wrote, "what Authority gives / existence its surprise." As Paul recuperates in the garden of his childhood home, he enters an unthinkable existence and another kind of illumination-a process that will irrevocably change not only his life but the lives of his wife and parents

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