A Bend in the River

( 18 )

Overview

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.

Explores an...

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A Bend in the River

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Overview

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.

Explores an isolated African town caught between the modern worlds, as seen through the eyes of an uprooted Indian who comes to live there.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For sheer abundance of talent, there ca hardly be a writer alive who surpasses V.S. Naipaul." —The New York Times Book Review

"Confirms Naipaul's position as one of the best writers now at work." —Walter Clemons, Newsweek

"The sweep of Naipaul's imagination, the brilliant fictional frame that expresses it, are in my view without equal today." —Elizabeth Hardwick

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679722021
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1989
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 163,322
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

V. S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After fouryears at Oxford he began to write, and has since published over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including A House for Mr. Biswas, An Area of Darkness, Among the Believers, and The Enigma of Arrival, all available in Vintage.

Biography

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr. Biswas, A Bend in the River, and a collection of letters, Between Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chaguanas, Trinidad
    1. Education:
      Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, 1943-48; B.A., University College, Oxford, 1953

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2007

    Patient and Well Crafted

    This book unfolds slowly, so if you are looking for action, pass on it. The writing and character development are perfection. The tension in the main character's life is pressure cooked and patiently drawn out. An outstanding look at the effects of colonialism and Africa's struggle to exist on it's own. It's a beautiful book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2003

    Engaging

    A Bend in the River is an engaging story in which a young Indian store owner describes his life in a war-torn, dying town in the middle of Africa. Having never lived in a similar situation, I couldn¿t directly relate to the feelings of impending destitution mixed with (sometimes strangely successful) desperate grasps at fortune-making schemes. However, I was amused (and a bit frightened) by the similarities between the society/government in this African country and those in modern dystopias such as 1984. The book is an interesting read for people who like to ¿broaden their horizons.¿

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2003

    Really interesting

    I found this book immensely interesting, in part because I just finished studying European imperialism and African colonization...etc. It is a very real and engaging protrayal of Africa immediately following independence and explores the struggle of a newly independent nation through the eyes of a foreigner(who isn't completely an outsider)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    A Bend in the River

    A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul is an engaging and interesting story. Set in a town in Central Africa at the bend of a great river, that is rebuilding since its independence. However the ¿people of the bush¿ live in fear that they will have another ruler like the white men so they disallow all growth to the town by all means necessary. The story of A Bend in the River takes us to Africa more specifically a third-world town in Africa in the rebuilding process. The Indian Salim from the coast owns his own shop accompanied by his friend/slave Metty. He is later joined by Ferdinand of a tribe down the river after the rapids. Ferdinand joins them because his mother wants him to go to a lycee, school, to make a man out of himself. However, the peace in the town was disrupted by tribes surrounding the town that live in fear of anything that has to do with the white men that treated them so unfairly. A war is started and fought and the future of the town is changed. V.S. Naipaul adds structure to the story. Salim is not allowed to live the life he want to live because of his status as a person and white man. V.S. Naipaul does a good job of showing how he feels about the situation. He stated that Salim is the master of one man and the caretaker of another, and he is the least free of the three. The author lets you know all the characteristics of the town and its people before he gives you the action, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It¿s a good thing because the reader can paint a picture rather easily. It is a bad thing because the story takes a while to build up because he¿s dropping in characteristics and behaviors in the story. However, I believe A Bend in the River is a masterpiece. I think all people should read A Bend in the River. It is a good book that deals with a part of the world that you may never know anything about and most likely not visit. It¿s a good book to step out of your comfort zone and see how other people are living away from all the luxuries we have grown accustomed to. If you want to read a good book, pick up A Bend in the River.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    Excellent book, keeps the readers glued to the book

    Book describes the story of an Indian guy trying to idetifying himself, trying to carve a place for himself away from his family in the cetral africa. The country is under revolution, he goes through different kinds of experiences as the political situation changes from bad to good to bad again. Each and every character holds position in the book and makes an interesting read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Vi

    She looks at the list. "Hmm..."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    Alice

    She scans the lists for volleyball, soccer, academic decathlon, and track.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    Extra-Cirricular Activities!

    Create them here!

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  • Posted May 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    If you asked me who my favorite living author is, I'd probably s

    If you asked me who my favorite living author is, I'd probably say Salman Rushdie or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But if you asked me who the greatest living author is, I'd have to say V.S. Naipaul.

    A Bend in the River is a novel about identity. Salim, our narrator, is a man of Indian origin, though his family has lived on the coast of Africa for generations. As the nations of Africa begin to gain independence from their European colonizers Salim seeks his own independence by leaving the coast to run a shop in an unnamed town in the African interior. But with independence comes uncertainty. Salim has no roots in India, and he is neither African nor European. Salim is a foreigner without a homeland. Meanwhile a country and a continent struggle to find their own identity. Africa is violently caught between its own rich history and the modern world of its former colonizers. Through this upheaval we follow Salim as he tries to make a life for himself; first finding guidance in others like himself, then a fascination with European expatriates. All the while trying to understand the new Africa, and in the end finding himself completely adrift. Perhaps this is what true independence looks like. A Bend in the River is a masterpiece of discovery and rage, and V.S. Naipaul deserves his place as one of literature's true giants.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Boring to me mc

    Mc

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    Overrated by critics

    Very dated and slight to begin with. Reads like a travel book through a desert with a disassociated loser.
    The comedies better suit his nasty superior style.




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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Easy, Very Worthwhile Read

    This thoughtful novel follows an Indian merchant from his home in east Africa to a newly independent, unnamed country in the interior. Naipaul combines excellent story-telling with multiple thematic overlays, including the impact of colonialism, the nature of societies, the fragility of society and the sinister way greed and corruption seep through life. It's an easy, very worthwhile read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2006

    An Uninteresting Waste of Time

    This book lacks the factor most books have of keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. The book seems to drag on forever, and at the turn of each page it had me wishing it was over. A dissapointingly poor novel.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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