The New Yorker offers its Nadine Gordimer archive, which is well stocked.
Over the decades, Gordimer wrote dozens of pieces for The New Yorker. Her first, a short story called “A Watcher of the Dead,” was published in 1951.
After that, she continued to publish stories about life in South Africa, with occasional excursions into other genres. In 1954, she published a memoir of her childhood, called “Allusions in a Landscape”; in 1995, she wrote about being a juror at Cannes; and, in 2001, she recalled, in a short, pensive meditation on memory, running into an old friend on a London street.
But it was through her short fiction that Gordimer made her presence felt the most, and two of her short stories in our archive are available for anybody to read. Both happen to be about secrets revealed. “The First Sense,” from 2006, is about a woman who discovers that her husband, a cellist, is having an affair. (She works in an office; the affair is one more way in which his life is more exciting than hers.) “A Beneficiary,” from 2007, is about a daughter who discovers a family secret in her mother’s old papers. It poses a question that Gordimer asked in many of her stories: “How do you recognize something that is not in the known vocabulary of your emotions? … What do you do with something you’ve been told? Something that now is there in the gut of your existence.” It’s a theme Gordimer returned to again and again: the challenge of responding to the hardest facts of life.
These stories, and others by Nadine Gordimer, are available in our online archive.