July's People Background

July's People Background

July's People is a novel written by Nadine Gordimer in 1981. The book is set during a fictional civil war in South Africa, where black South Africans are fighting against apartheid. The story mainly revolves around Bamford and Maureen Smales, a white South African couple who flee to Johannesburg with their children to seek refuge with their servant July. July's wife dislikes the Smales but allows them to stay with them due to July's authority. The Smales find life very different here as they have no running water or electricity. The chief of the village summons the Smales but ultimately allows them to stay with July. Bamford acquires a gun and goes hunting with his new hunting companion Daniel. After a small entertainment party, the Smales return to their hut and find their gun missing. It seems as though Daniel has taken it and joined in the civil war. Later, a helicopter is coming towards the village and Maureen runs towards it. The novel ends with her continuing to chase the helicopter with its unknown occupants.

The book was written by the author to describe the effects of apartheid and how segregation made one community feel. The author also wrote the book before the end of apartheid as it was her prediction of how apartheid would end.

The book was received well by critics and fans alike, despite being banned in South Africa for a while after its publication. In fact, The Observer commented on the book stating that it was "breathtaking" and "flawlessly written". The author also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.

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