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"The Late Bourgeois World" is a 1966 novella by Nadine Gordimer, a South African writer who would later win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The book begins when the protagonist, Liz, finds out that her ex-husband, Max, has killed himself by driving his car into the ocean. Max had been the product of an upper-class, privileged family and had rebelled by joining the Black Nationalist movement. After being arrested, he turned State's Evidence and killed himself out of guilt. The book consists of Liz's reminiscences about her husband, about the motives and manners of the nationalist movement, and about her own conflicting lives: one the woman who is still living at the edge of the bourgeois world, the other the woman who is still interested in giving aid for an illegal rebellion. The book describes this almost disassociative lifestyle in detail, and seems to be a very authentic document of that period in time.

The first book I read by Mrs. Gordimer was "No Time Like the Present", which was a longer and more diffuse book. I found that book to be interesting, but it lacked the emotional urgency of this book. When I read "The Late Bourgeois World", I felt the tension of living in a world of shops and pearl necklaces and professional careers--- but also in a world of civil war and secret police. I would recommend this book both for its literary quality and as a historical document.

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