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A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul

A Bend in the River (original 1979; edition 2002)

by V.S. Naipaul

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Title:A Bend in the River
Authors:V.S. Naipaul
Info:Picador (2002), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Fiction, 1001

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A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul (1979)



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English (34)  Dutch (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
An Indian-African takes his family's servant and leaves the coast to settle upriver at an inland outpost. He begins his life as a merchant.Much of the book is an examination of the uprooted who profit but mostly lose when stranded in an unstable country amid corruption and greed. I enjoyed the descriptions of the constant jockeying for security that the residents of this community have to endure. The plot is secondary to the generalized fear that settles over everyone- people in bed listening for trucks in the night, and characters burying their money in the backyard.Recommended for those interested in exile/ immigration tensions.
  augustau | Apr 9, 2015 |
Naipaul did a pretty smooth job in this post colonial Africa novel.
I thought there was a good description of central African society in the 70's. Good caricatures of the various characters in the novel. These types are present in each society. I felt a little bit of Heart of Darkness here, but not as intense. ( )
  delta351 | Mar 16, 2014 |
Naipaul portrays an Africa that is caught in a pattern of corruption, meaninglessness, and failure. The characters in this novel can't seem to develop relationships; everyone seems to wander in isolation, constantly being knocked down and out by circumstances. Altogether, it's pretty depressing, certainly does nothing for the tourism industry in Africa. On the other hand, there's something about this novel that keeps your attention - maybe just the hope that things will get better. I can't say that I really enjoyed the book, but it had a certain fascination. ( )
  TerriBooks | Feb 21, 2014 |
A writer is said to be an outsider. It is easy to understand how V.S. Naipaul could meet this requirement: he came to England, from Trinidad, in 1950, at the age of 18. I would imagine, that this would have been a difficult transition to make, particularly at such a delicate age.

All the main characters in 'A Bend in the River', are stateless drifters; each time they appear to have settled, a cataclysm occurs to dislodge them. Sometimes, a character appears to have 'won' and goes off in triumph, only to turn up, a chapter or two down the line, back at square one. This is a depressing state of affairs but, what Naipaul captures beautifully, is the pleasure that we humans can get by seeing that others only appear to be racing passed us on a trajectory to success. Salim, the storey teller in this tale, is a likeable chap; a bit like you or me, and we are able to entertain these triumphs of others failures, whilst still being sufficiently an outsider as to be able to recognise the mean spiritedness of such an attitude.

It does not need me to praise Naipaul's literary style: this has been done by many of far greater standing than myself, but I am pleased to concur with the view that he is a real talent; however, I did find the end a little rushed. Salim's return to Africa, and even more so his decision to remain there for some time, seem at odds with his stateless nature. This is a minor niggle in an excellent novel which I truly enjoyed. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Dec 20, 2013 |
When faced with potential calamity in his hometown on the East Coast of Africa, an Indian man uproots his existence and travels to a remote African village situated at the bend in the river. There he becomes a shop keeper and over the course of many years weathers the tides of poverty, prosperity, and political fluctuation that affect the town.

The story is the kind of life is lifelike tales in which a character sits at the center of events without having much impact on them. The main character is thoughtful and pondering. He contemplates the life he's chosen, the shifting political poles, and his personal interactions with a kind of emotional distance.

I'd say this book was good, interesting, and worth a read, but it's not one that drew any passion from me either for the language or the story. ( )
  andreablythe | Nov 18, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
V. S. Naipaulprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hardwick, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679722025, Paperback)

In the "brilliant novel" (The New York Times) V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man—an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:45 -0400)

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Set in the Congo and expressing a rage at the inability of the third world to survive post colonialisation.

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