The Poetics of Space as Site of Un-belonging in Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup (Published)
This article addresses Nadine Gordimer’s 2001 novel The Pickup which has stirred much critical attention as it probes further into the vagaries of the post-apartheid reality. The novel relates a cross-cultural love story between Julie Summers; a well-to-do white woman, and the illegal immigrant Abdu; also called Ibrahim Ibn Musa who is an Arab mechanic from an unnamed Arab country. After constantly declining his visa applications, Abdu was forced to go back to his country with Julie who did not waver to accompany him to the desert, somewhere in North Africa. Nonetheless, Abdu’s choice to leave his homeland afresh and dwell in the United States of America verily upsets his wife Julie who unexpectedly chooses to stay in the desert forever. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to show that embracing the ‘Other’ and living amidst another geographical location is a way to seek re-definition in the midst of the unsteady new South Africa. Identity and place are intertwined as characters’ embrace and identify with places they do not belong to. They feel out of place in their homelands. Accordingly, the poetics of non-space and un-belonging is a major template in the novel. Equally of due significance is the notion of place/home as a major factor that shapes one’s sense of self and inner integrity. Characters are in a constant quest for the ‘Other’ to blur feelings of estrangement and alienation. To entrench hybridity instead of racial favoritism is a major premise of post-apartheid literature, however relative this might be.
Citation : Kalthoum Belwefi (2022) The Poetics of Space as Site of Un-belonging in Nadine Gordimer’s The Pickup, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.6, pp.35-48
Keywords: Gordimer, embracing the ‘Other’, post-apartheid, space, un-belonging