"Town and Country Lovers" and Other Stories Background

"Town and Country Lovers" and Other Stories Background

"Town and Country Lovers" and Other Stories is a 1982 collection of short fiction by South African writer and activist Nadine Gordimer. The titular short story was first published in Gordimer's 1980 collection, A Soldier's Embrace.

Gordimer's writings--for which she was awarded the was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature--deal primarily with the theme of race relations and apartheid in South Africa and the legal and social sanctions against interracial relationships. Several of her works, including Burger's Daughter and July People, were banned by the South African government. Gordimer also took part in the African National Congress while it was a banned organization and worked with famous anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela.

Gordimer was significantly influenced by her upbringing. Her father was a Jewish refugee from what is now Lithuania (and was then part of the Russian Empire); her mother was from a middle-class English family which also had Jewish heritage. While Gordimer's father wasn't particularly involved in South African politics or the anti-apartheid movement, her mother was sympathetic to the cause and founded a daycare for Black children. Gordimer was raised in a secular household and later identified herself as an atheist with a "religious temperament."

As a child, Gordimer was largely homebound due to her mother fearing for her health. The first experience Gordimer had in a racially-integrated setting was at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where she studied for a year. She became active in the anti-apartheid movement following the arrest of her best friend, activist Bettie du Toit, and the Sharpeville Massacre of protestors by the South African Police, both of which occurred in 1960. In addition to her anti-apartheid activism, Gordimer also actively resisted censorship in South Africa, and served on the committee of South Africa's Anti-Censorship Action Group.

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