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Publisher's Summary

This is the moving story of the unforgettable Rosa Burger, a young woman from South Africa cast in the mold of a revolutionary tradition. Rosa tries to uphold her heritage handed on by martyred parents while still carving out a sense of self. Although it is wholly of today, Burger's Daughter can be compared to those 19th century Russian classics that make a certain time and place come alive, and yet stand as universal celebrations of the human spirit. Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born and lives in South Africa.
©1979 by Nadine Gordimer (P)1993 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Faultness novelistic art...only equaled in our time by such masters as Graham Greene and V.S. Naipual." (Francine du Plessix Gray)

What listeners say about Burger's Daughter

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

No wonder she won the Nobel Prize for literature!

Its a pleasure to read Nadine Gordimer's prose. The story concerns the daughter of revolutionaries in South Africa--growing up as a member of the underground with legendary parents who were repeatedly imprisoned. She is then left to assume her individual identity, juggling the many people captivated by their images of her, expectations that she will carry on her parents' legacy, and her own principles and need for individuality. The book captures the beauty and brutality of South Africa, a land with so many contradictions--racists and heroes, open wild spaces and strictly imposed barriers, and of course black and white. Nadia May captures South African accents wonderfully.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Please, improve the sound quality

It is an interesting book, but I could not listen to it. A terrible recording.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible audio

I really, really wanted to hear this audiobook, but the quality of the recording was so bad I had to give up. I hope that Audible finds a new version, as this is a book that deserves to be heard...

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A challenging book to listen to

Would you try another book from Nadine Gordimer and/or Nadia May?

I have tremendous respect for Gordimer and would say that this book is excellently written. It is however, filled with long political conversations and lots of descriptive language. Not the best choice for an audio book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Burger's Daughter?

The portrait of South Africa was fascinating to me. (I'm married to a South African.) The novel gives a lot of historical insight.

How could the performance have been better?

The recording seems old and the audio quality is not great. Sometimes the recording repeats a few sentences, as if clips were badly spliced. Disappointing

Was Burger's Daughter worth the listening time?

Eh ... I can't say I really enjoyed listening to it, but I am glad to have the novel in my memory. Kind of like a school assignment that you look back on fondly.

Any additional comments?

I wish I could recommend this book because I do have tremendous respect for Nadine Gordimer. She crafts incredible sentences and the novel is full of heart. But it isn't a great audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I just didn't make it to the end

I didn't understand a thing. It is possible that this novel is not suited for Audible reading or that the reader did an awful job of interpreting it: I don't know, since I do not own the hardcopy of this book. But as is, in this Audible version, I found it impossible to follow, with a poorly organized plot, and overall boring to tears. I stopped about 3 hours into it.
The reader is not the greatest, unfortunately. Her speech style, of weaving one word into the other breathlessly, combined with an exceedingly old-style English (like my neighbour, dear old... old Mrs. Walker, in the 70s) is quite unpleasant.
I wouldn't recommend this Audible (although, the novel itself may be worth reading in person--I'm not sure).

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible sound quality

I can't say anything about the book itself. The sound is so bad that I gave it up after a few minutes.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Like a Thesis

Other than Harold Pinter, Bob Dylan and Tony Morrison, I couldn’t even name other Nobel Prize for Literature winners. So I was kind of gobsmacked as I listened to this book. There is no way to adequately describe the combination of deep, raw emotions coupled with pure, exquisitely phrased sentences that jumbled together as I plowed through this book. Yes, plowed is what I meant. Apartheid has taken on a new meaning in America as we confront racism daily as details of our nation’s history of slavery continue to emerge. Even if you, as I, find the change in locales confusing, the beauty of the literature alone makes this epic a must read.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, but doesn't lend well to narration

I loved this book's content, but had trouble persisting through the audio performance. Part of the issue is the structure of the book since it jumps perspective style regularly and can ramble without pronouns for frustratingly long. As a result, tracking events by purely listening is difficult. Beyond this hindrance, the audio performance simply is not good.

Despite everything started above, this book is still worth a listen for its own sake. Although, if you can find a physical copy that's probably a better option.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Left me cold

I know it's a modern classic and it's definitely about a fascinating topic but the book, while competently narrated, left me cold. The main character is so divorced from her own life and history that it was hard for me to get a sense of her. There were some lovely bits (a scene where a life or death discussion was briefly interrupted with the offer of after dinner cordials deftly illustrated the divide between the theoretical and the practical, the privileged and the non privileged) but there were also some long pages of speechifying that I could have done without.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-25-17

Boring, clueless pronunciation, but prose is Nobel

What would have made Burger's Daughter better?

It's no longer a sound quality issue. It's entirely a narrator issue. The book is incredibly tiresome but as one reviewer put it, it is certainly "novelistically faultless." The historical part was at times interesting, but boy do you have to slog through endless descriptions of flowers, doors, and digressions that do nothing but bore.

What didn’t you like about Nadia May’s performance?

I'm South African and I can confirm that she didn't check ANY pronunciations. Her Afrikaans, Xhosa, even Portuguese (Samora Machel, pronounced Mackell) were all wrong. I can almost not think of a single word she got right: rondavel, Motlanthe, Mbeki, Knysna, Cloete, you name it. Absolutely unforgivable. If you have to have a non-South African narrator (and I don't see why you'd have to) narrate one SA's finest writers then at very least check pronunciations. Her SA accent is pretty terrible too, but non-SA listeners may not be as bothered. I've listened to May narrate Origins of Totalitarianism and she's a good narrator. Not sure why she's debased herself in this way.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-24-21

Enjoyable

It gives a very good sense of what the struggle for freedom took from many, also the tension of that era. It is also good glimpse of a personal awakening. Unfortunately the narrator is somewhat shrill at times and no attempt is made to pronounce foreign words correctly which causes some distraction.