In a Free State

( 3 )

Overview

No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.

In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people--Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and ...

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In a Free State

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Overview

No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.

In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people--Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious “compound wife” [117]-- are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital [111]. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin’s Uganda. [111-12, 120, 130-1, 150, 178, 220-40] And the farther Naipaul’s protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home. By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In A Free State is Naipaul at his best.

Winner of the 1971 Booker Prize

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“V. S. Naipaul tells stories which show us ourselves and the reality we live in. His use of language is as precise as it is beautiful.” — The London Times

“A Tolstoyan spirit....The so-called Third World has produced no more brilliant literary artist.” —John Updike, The New Yorker

“The coolest literary eye and the most lucid prose we have.” —The New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400030552
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2002
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 806,004
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.91 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

V. S. Naipaul
V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He has published more than 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, including A House for Mr. Biswas, A Bend in the River, The Enigma of Arrival and An Area of Darkness. He lives in Wiltshire, England. He was knighted in 1990 and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001.

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

Read an Excerpt

No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.

In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people—Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious “compound wife” [117]— are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital [111]. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin’s Uganda. [111-12, 120, 130-1, 150, 178, 220-40] And the farther Naipaul’s protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home. By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In A Free State is Naipaul at his best.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2012

    Five Short Stories

    The main story here was boring. Far too much description of landscape, and a very mixed up main character.

    The other four shorts were okay - mildly entertaining.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2007

    Hard to get through

    Nobel Prize or not, this was hard to follow. I didn't like the characters and the story felt like a dream, distant and fuzzy. However, the first story 'One out of Many' is excellent.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2001

    A great book.

    This book is an inspiration and confirmation to us permanent wanderers. Nobody understands the pathos of distant roots better than Naipaul. In the past, I have found his writing to be somewhat scattered but this book is an exception. He is writing on a subject that is close to his heart and that is apparent in the depth of his perception. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt uprooted...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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