This Is No Place for a Woman

Nadine Gordimer, Na Yantara Sahgal, Buchi Emecheta, and the Politics of Gender

By Joya Uraizee

Subjects: African Studies, Literary Criticism, Women's Studies
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9780865437678, 269 pages, January 2000

Surveys the works of three important female writers of postcolonial societies.


This is an analytical survey of the works of three notable female writers of postcolonial societies: South Africa's Nadine Gordimer, India's Nayantara Sahgal, and Nigeria's Buchi Emecheta. The author contends that the three novelistis tend to subsume social and economic categorizations under one dominant mode. For Gordimer, race dictates political identity and behavior; for Sahgal, class determines the appropriateness of political leadership; while for Emecheta, gender power controls and dominates political action. The implications of this for the nature of postcolonial political fiction, according to the author, are that narrative voice and political identity are in a state of flux. The three novelists are articulate and expressive with regard to race, class, and gender, and in examining them together, this book shows that the postcolonial woman is part of a plurality or continuum in which she moves in various positions, depending on what ideology is imposed on and by her. The postcolonial woman is represented as a figure that is being constantly displaced or a voice that perpetually resists within a discourse that is evolving and shifting. She is at once elite and powerless, at once subversive and exploitative. This book analyzes the attempts of these three novelists to come to terms with the neocolonial and patriarchal ideology that surrounds and limits them.