ONLINE: In her 1981 novel "July’s People," Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer imagines a post-apartheid future where violent revolution has upended Johannesburg’s status quo. In a role reversal, the titular July saves his former employers, a white family, by hiding them in his native village. In a different time and place, two American families in Rumaan Alam’s “Leave the World Behind" (2020) also are jolted by social and personal upheaval and must struggle to survive and make sense of their new world. Guided by the instructor, this discussion-based course will compare and contrast the two novels and examine how these masterful writers shape their narratives, involve readers and demonstrate how race, gender and privilege shape identity. The characters, situations and disconcerting contemporary parallels found in these works will remain in readers’ minds long after they finish the last pages and should make for lively discussion. | Facilitated discussion.
Max enrollment: 17.
Marjorie Lancaster has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Duke and Tulane University. Since 2014, she has taught literature courses for OLLI and subscribes wholeheartedly to the idea expressed by one of the characters in "July's People": A good novel can transport a reader to "another time, place, and life." She believes a memorable class is fueled by curiosity, active engagement in the texts and openness to new interpretations.