The House Gun

By Nadine Gordimer
Genre: Adventure
Buy Now This book is on reading list for April 2012

Discussion Questions

Nadine Gordimer strongly believes in the symbiotic relationship between a novel and the time and place within which it was created. Why does she place The House Gun in a larger political context?

The House Gun is divided into two parts. Why do you think Nadine Gordimer chose to do this? Is the narrative style of the two parts different?

Throughout the novel, Claudia refers to a note that she and Harald wrote Duncan after one of his classmates committed suicide. It said, “There is nothing that you cannot tell us.” But as the novel develops, it becomes apparent that Harald and Claudia really know very little about Duncan’s life. Did this strike you as a failure as parents on their part? Why or why not?

Think about Harald and Claudia’s marriage. What facet of their relationship was transformed the most by the murder? How and why?

While there are sections in The House Gun that give us glimpses into Duncan’s perceptions of intimacy, love, and justice, he remains, for the most part, an opaque character. How did you find yourself responding to Duncan: with empathy, with disgust, or with anger?

Did you believe Hamilton Motsamai’s defense that Carl’s murder was a spontaneous act of passion? What are the specific circumstances of the crime that make you believe that it was, or wasn’t, premeditated? Is that truth — whatever it may be — irrelevant? And,  at the end of the novel, is justice served?


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