Before reading the below post, please read City Lovers by Nadine Gordimer.
Gordimer writes of a couple who meet each other in a honest way. The girl who is never named works at the local grocery store and at first holds some razors for Dr. von Leinsdorf. However, as the story progresses, the couple becomes intimate. They are careful and do take precautions, but are still found out by the local police. Throughout the story Gordimer writes about the couple with a detached and unemotional matter of fact way. This style is consistent throughout the story, even after the couple is arrested and taken to court.
At first I did not understand why she would write with this style. I was quite confused as to why she was writing about a romantic couple, yet she wasn’t using the traditional romantic style. I believe this is to convey that there were not true love between them. But by her own description
Dr. von Leinsdorf had worked around the world. Perhaps, this wasn’t the first grocery lady he had been in a relationship of convenience with. I believe her tone was on purpose in order to reflect the lack of emotion in the story as well.
In addition, I believe she decided to use this detached style allowing the reader to see what the story was truly about, and not get distracted by the emotions. By taking a reporter like style she allows the reader to clearly see that the woman is being oppressed in this country, and that the man doesn’t understand that oppression as he is from a foreign country.