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Loot

Masterly new fiction from the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature A startling new work: ten fictions, each a revelation of our interior lives, each entering unforeseen contexts of our contemporary world. In the title story, an earthquake exposes both an ocean bed strewn with treasure among the dead and the avarice of the town’s survivors. In “The Diamond Mine,” a woman recalls her youthful surreptitious sexual initiation, while she and her parents chauffeured a young soldier to his wartime embarkation. The anopleles mosquito brings death to the saunas and other playgrounds of the developed world in “The Emissary.” “Mission Statement” is the story of a development agency official’s idealism, the ghosts of colonial history, and a love affair with a government official that ends astoundingly. “The Generation Gap” turns the “gap” upside down when a father’s bid for freedom shocks his adult children. In “Homage,” one of Europe’s aliens visits the grave of the politician he was paid to assassinate. In “Karma,” Gordimer’s inventiveness knows no bounds: in five returns to the earthly life, taking on different ages and genders, a disembodied narrator testifies to unfinished business–critically, wittily–and questions the nature of existence.