Nadine Gordimer changed my life. One of her short stories triggered my interest in South African literature. Her other short stories inspired me to write my own. She was an incisive essayist with the power to enrich our understanding of the world. I learned so much about literature, the human heart, South Africa and beyond through her writing. None to Accompany Me helped me figure out what kind of woman I wanted to be. I spent six intense years reading Gordimer’s work and its criticism for my doctoral thesis and I did not regret my choice of topic for a single day. I return to her work with eagerness and pleasure since then.
An interview with Nadine Gordimer on the occasion of her 88th birthday (2011):
Still in Gordimer’s lounge, I dare ask a personal question.
‘What makes you really happy?’
A short silence; my heart stops.
‘André would say chocolate,’ I volunteer out of desperation.
‘Well, that’s an evasive answer… I’m also very fond of black chocolate, but of course that’s a taste happiness.’
‘I have been unbelievably lucky by having forty-eight years with the love of my life, and I have that to treasure. Sometimes it is painful to do so, but other times…it’s there, I had it.’
Her life and work continue to inspire. She is missed.