I have never read Nadine Gordimer before, but when I saw 2 collections of her works at 2 of my friends' houses (and rave reviews) I got curious. This book is a thickly textured look at 3 sisters and their divurgent lives and the daughter of 1 who is exposed to all 3 and then further divurges into the racial movements of 70's South Africa. Gordimer's use of setting is really good. I found particularly interesting the family of the most politically oriented sister, Pauline and her husband Joe and children where the domestic lives interleave with the sometimes violent politial terrain. The main character, Hillela, however, I found to be less than heroic -- she simply seemed to be a sensual being who floated in and out of various beds and even the tragedy which befalls her later in the story doesn't REALLY seem to have changed her - she seems like the same person on page 1 as on page 300, although the narrative implies otherwise. For a book released in the 70's I'm sure that this was a revelation, although here in the new millenium it seems dated.Despite all this, I think the author is terrifically talented in her ability to convey sensuality, to provoke thought, and to establish setting and mood. There were some passages of the book that are among the best I've read anywhere.