'Brilliant and terrifying' Observer Set in an unnamed African country, the book is narrated by Salim, a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast. He believes The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it. So he has taken the initiative; left the coast; acquired his own shop in a small, growing city in the continent's remote interior and is selling sundries -- little more than this and that, really -- to the natives. This spot, this 'bend in the river', is a microcosm of post-colonial Africa at the time of Independence: a scene of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation and poverty. And from this rich landscape emerges one of the author's most potent works -- a truly moving story of historical upheaval and social breakdown. 'Naipaul has fashioned a work of intense imaginative force. It is a haunting creation, rich with incident and human bafflement, played out in an immense detail of landscape rendered with a poignant brilliance.' Elizabeth Hardwick 'Always a master of fictional landscape, Naipaul here shows, in his variety of human examples and in his search for underlying social causes, a Tolstoyan spirit' John Updike
First published in 1979, A Bend in the River is a profound and richly observed novel of the politics and society of postcolonial Africa. Salim, a young Indian man, moves to a town on a bend in the river of a recently independent nation. As Salim strives to establish his business, he comes to be closely involved with the fluid and dangerous politics of the newly created state, the remnants of the old regime clashing inevitably with the new. "Naipaul's novels are about the struggle for existence in a world still colonial despite the breakup of the old Western empires," wrote Alfred Kazin.
A Bend in the River is demonstration of V. S. Naipaul's status as one of the world's best novelists. The New York Times Book Review noted: "For sheer abundance of talent there can hardly be a writer alive who surpasses V. S. Naipaul." Elizabeth Hardwick, who has provided a
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see the inside of the jacketnew Introduction for this Modern Library edition, has said, "The sweep of Naipaul's imagination, the brilliant fictional frame that expresses it, are in my view without equal today."
From the Inside Flap
"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
From the Back Cover