Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer follows the inner lives of characters confronted by unforeseen circumstances. Paul Bannerman, an ecologist in South Africa, believes he understands the trajectory of his life, with the usual markers of vocation and marriage. But when he's diagnosed with thyroid cancer and, after surgery, prescribed treatment that will leave him radioactive-and for a period a danger to others-he begins to question, as Auden wrote, "what Authority gives / existence its surprise." As Paul recuperates in the garden of his childhood home, he enters an unthinkable existence and another kind of illumination-a process that will irrevocably change not only his life but the lives of his wife and parents. BACKCOVER: "More profound, more searching, more accomplished than what she was writing earlier in her long and distinguished career."
-Los Angeles Times"Nadine Gordimer's work is endowed with an emotional genius so palpable one experiences it like a finger pressing steadily upon the prose."
-The Village Voice"A timely novel and a provocative one: a novel to enjoy and ponder, as its characters all do, the dizzying complications inherent in human choice."
-The Washington Times"I will always be grateful for the presence in the world of Nadine Gordimer, who has delivered in literature a South Africa most of us could not have known without her."
-Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe