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Melissa_W
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THE PICKUP: Week 2, Pages 65 - 130

[ Edited ]
Please use this thread for discussion of pages 65 - 130 of Gordimer's The Pickup, ending with "They make love, that unspoken knowledge they can share; that country to which they can resort."  Please clearly mark a SPOILER WARNING if your post contains references to later events in the novel.
Message Edited by Melissa_W on 08-03-2009 12:45 PM
Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Melissa_W
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THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

I'm starting to find Abdu a sympathetic character (not sure if that's due to the situation given to the character in general as a man without country or Gordimer's writing) but Julie is a character that I don't care for at all.  I haven't quite figured out why yet. 

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Peppermill
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

Melissa -- I haven't read very far yet, but my initial reaction is that Julie is a brassy, spoiled brat -- but I don't dislike her yet, even if I am wondering about the wisdom of her choices.

 


Melissa_W wrote:

I'm starting to find Abdu a sympathetic character (not sure if that's due to the situation given to the character in general as a man without country or Gordimer's writing) but Julie is a character that I don't care for at all.  I haven't quite figured out why yet. 


"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

[ Edited ]

Yes, but given the country Gordimer is writing about, Julie is a product of a particular environment.  Perhaps we need to give her credit for breaking away from the 'apartheid' views of the past she was undoubtedly brought up with? A great many white South Africans were 'spoiled brats' living on the backs of the native population.  Julie and her friends represent the changes that are taking place against a backdrop of 'truth and reconciliation'.    

 

I met both Julies and Abdus when I was active in the anti-Apartheid movement and on the whole my sympathies are with Abdu.  Gordimer, of course, fought apartheid all her life and her sympathies are probably with Abdu too, so we may be feeling that in her portrayal of him here.     

 

 

 

 


Peppermill wrote:

Melissa -- I haven't read very far yet, but my initial reaction is that Julie is a brassy, spoiled brat -- but I don't dislike her yet, even if I am wondering about the wisdom of her choices.

 


Melissa_W wrote:

I'm starting to find Abdu a sympathetic character (not sure if that's due to the situation given to the character in general as a man without country or Gordimer's writing) but Julie is a character that I don't care for at all.  I haven't quite figured out why yet. 


 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-13-2009 05:13 AM
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Jon_B
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

[ Edited ]

Yes, I think Julie is a better person than most of the other characters in the book give her credit for, including Abdu - one of the most interesting contrasts as the book develops is Julie's motives contrasted with what the other characters think her motives are.

 

And I agree with Choisya that the setting absolutely needs to be taken into consideration in looking at Julie and her social circle, her interactions with her parents, etc.

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 08-13-2009 09:08 AM
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Peppermill
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?


Melissa_W wrote:

I'm starting to find Abdu a sympathetic character (not sure if that's due to the situation given to the character in general as a man without country or Gordimer's writing) but Julie is a character that I don't care for at all.  I haven't quite figured out why yet. 


So far, Julie is much more appealing as a "human being" to me than Madame Bovary!?

 

I am reminded of a recent book discussion on Murakami where the comment was that he always has at least one character with whom he, as author, is clearly sympathetic.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Choisya
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

...one of the most interesting contrasts as the book develops is Julie's motives contrasted with what the other characters think her motives are.

 

Yes indeed - now that I have finished the book my views on Abdu have completely changed and I have a lot of respect for Julie!  

 

 

 

 


Jon_B wrote:

Yes, I think Julie is a better person than most of the other characters in the book give her credit for, including Abdu - one of the most interesting contrasts as the book develops is Julie's motives contrasted with what the other characters think her motives are.

 

And I agree with Choisya that the setting absolutely needs to be taken into consideration in looking at Julie and her social circle, her interactions with her parents, etc.

 

 

Message Edited by Jon_B on 08-13-2009 09:08 AM

 

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chadadanielleKR
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

[ Edited ]

For me, "the Pick Up" is story of the maturation of Julie's personality. At first, she behaves just like any young people in post Apartheid South Africa who wants to fit in the new society.But when an unusual event takes place (her meeting with Abdu), she becomes herself or at least a more thoughful person which doesn't need her friends anymore.

 

I like her because she assumes what she does. She falls in love with Abdu and doesn't let him down, even if it implies marrying him and leaving her country and comfortable way of life for good

 

Her departure with Abdu is all the more surprising at first that her whole affair didn't appear to be  serious to the opinion of her friends except maybe that of the poetMost probably,

she hadn't thought about this possibility before, but then, when she has to take a decision,

she just decides that time has come to become a responsible person towards herself, her

family, acquaintances from the EL. AY café and Abdu of course. No one understands her but the strengh of her determination is such that Abdu can only acknowledge it and return to his country with a new and unwelcome wife

 

Message Edited by chadadanielleKR on 08-15-2009 12:28 AM
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Choisya
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

[ Edited ]

Yes, you are right Danielle.  The story is a bildungsroman perhaps not just of Julie but, given it is Gordimer, a story of the maturation of post-apartheid South Africans?   She is certainly very brave. 

 

(POSSIBLE SPOILERS)  I can relate to Julie's experiences with her new family:  I married an Afro-Caribbean in Trinidad in 1978 and had a not dissimilar introduction to his family, where male and female lives were very separate not because of religion but because of culture.  I too became very fond of particular sister-in-law. My husband was also very attached to his mother and as a new bride away from home I found that quite difficult to deal with.  Also, my husband's experiences in Canada and in England vis a vis 'the colour bar' were not dissimilar to Abdu's, even though he was a middle class professional with citizenship.  The first (1960s) generation of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the UK, however well qualified, found it very difficult to make the grade and most never did achieve their full potential.   Abdul's observations of the white society he is in remind me of my husband's comments. My advice to him would be to stay at home and make the most of his Uncle's offer - my husband often wished he had.  His Uncle was a garage owning 'grease monkey' too!  After he retired, my husband returned home to die:smileysad:.   

 

     

 


chadadanielleKR wrote:

For me, "the Pick Up" is story of the maturation of Julie's personality. At first, she behaves just like any young people in post Apartheid South Africa who wants to fit in the new society.But when an unusual event takes place (her meeting with Abdu), she becomes herself or at least a more thoughful person which doesn't need her friends anymore.

 

I like her because she assumes what she does. She falls in love with Abdu and doesn't let him down, even if it implies marrying him and leaving her country and comfortable way of life for good

 

Her departure with Abdu is all the more surprising at first that her whole affair didn't appear to be  serious to the opinion of her friends except maybe that of the poetMost probably,

she hadn't thought about this possibility before, but then, when she has to take a decision,

she just decides that time has come to become a responsible person towards herself, her

family, acquaintances from the EL. AY café and Abdu of course. No one understands her but the strengh of her determination is such that Abdu can only acknowledge it and return to his country with a new and unwelcome wife

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-15-2009 03:46 AM
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Peppermill
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Re: THE PICKUP: Week 2 Pages 65 - 130

Wow, reading Madame Bovary, The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, and The Pickup alongside and intermingled with each other has been quite a ride!

 

In general, I have been very impressed by The Pickup -- but, then, I am partial to modern novels (as contrasted with Victorian novels).

 

But, one place that the realism seemed challenged for me was when Julie married (p. 107) and two days later her visa reflected her new marital status (p. 109).

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: THE PICKUP: Does anyone like Julie?

Melissa  -- here is Benjamin Kwakye's response to you.

 


Melissa_W wrote:

I'm starting to find Abdu a sympathetic character (not sure if that's due to the situation given to the character in general as a man without country or Gordimer's writing) but Julie is a character that I don't care for at all.  I haven't quite figured out why yet. 


 

The Clothes of Nakedness

 

The Sun by Night (B&N review is far more enticing than the above)

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Jon_B
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Re: THE PICKUP: Week 2 Pages 65 - 130


Peppermill wrote:

But, one place that the realism seemed challenged for me was when Julie married (p. 107) and two days later her visa reflected her new marital status (p. 109).


 

Haha - great point!  I don't know how it worked in South Africa at the time, but a couple I am friends with (French/American) just went through months of aggravation trying to do exactly this, so yeah I'd agree two days is pretty far from realistic!

 

 

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