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A Bend In the River

By Naipaul, V S


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A Bend in the River is a 1979 novel by Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul. Set in an unnamed African country after independence, the book is narrated by Salim, an ethnically Indian Muslim and a shopkeeper in a small, growing city in the country's remote interior. Though born and raised in another country in a more cosmopolitan city on the coast (possibly Mombasa but more likely Zanzibar since the pogrom described by Salim resembles the Zanzibar Revolution) during the colonial period, as neither European nor fully African, Salim observes the rapid changes in his homeland with an outsider's distance. Although Salim never identifies the country where he lives, the events closely parallel the Belgian Congo's transformation into Zaire under Mobutu Sésé Seko (the novel's "Big Man") - with the unnamed city in which the novel is set having some similarity with the Zairean river port of Kisangani. Indeed, Naipaul had visited Zaire in 1975 and written an article for the New York Review of Books entitled A New King for the Congo: Mobutu and the Nihilism of Africa. Others see a resonance with Idi Amin's Uganda - however, as Uganda is referred to multiple times in the book as being a place people go to, or hear news from, this seems unlikely. The first sentence of the book is considered emblematic of Naipaul's world view: "The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it. " This is also a good plot summary. Most of the characters are eaten by the voracious modern world. "Nobody's going anywhere," the apparently successful local party boss tells Salim, "We're all going to Hell and every man knows that in his bones. We're being killed. Nothing has any meaning. That is why everyone is so frantic. Everyone wants to make his money and run away. But where? That is what is driving people mad. " It is unclear whether this apocalyptic view applies to the world in general or only to modern Africa, but one recent critic thinks it represents "the gradual darkening of African society as it returns to its age-old condition of bush and blood" and thinks this pessimistic response shows Naipaul's "inability to examine postcolonial societies in any depth" Be that as it may, future events showed that Naipaul's prediction for the Congo was too optimistic. A Bend in the River was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1979. Naipaul credits an extramarital affair for giving A Bend in the River and his later books greater fluidity, saying these "in a way to some extent depend on her (i.e. , his mistress). They stopped being dry. ”

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Available copies: A Bend In the River By Naipaul, V S



A Bend in the River

Naipaul, V.S

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Naipaul, V. S

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V.S. Naipaul

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Naipaul, V.S

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A Bend in the River

NAIPAUL, V. S

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A Bend in the River

NAIPAUL, V. S

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A BEND IN THE RIVER

Naipaul, V.S

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A Bend in the River

Naipaul, V.s

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V. S. Naipaul

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V.S. Naipaul

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Naipaul, V. S

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A Bend in the River

Naipaul, V. S

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A BEND IN THE RIVER

Naipaul, V. S

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A Bend in the River (Modern Library)

V.S. Naipaul

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Naipaul, V. S

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Naipaul, V.S

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A BEND IN THE RIVER

NAIPAUL, V. S. (HARDWICK, Elizabeth)

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A Bend in the River

Naipaul, V.S

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Naipaul, V.S

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NAIPAUL, V. S

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