Books: Abstractions

MY SON'S STORY

by Nadine Gordimer

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

277 pages; $19.95

A teenage boy who is supposed to be studying for high school exams slips out one afternoon to take in a movie and has the bad luck, going in, to run into his father coming out of the theater. Embarrassment ensues on both sides: the father is with a woman who is not his wife.

There is more in My Son's Story than domestic tensions. South African author Nadine Gordimer has never acquired the luxury of believing that private lives can proceed in a political vacuum. The stark...

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