'Brilliant and terrifying' - "Observer". I had to be the man who was doing well and more than well, the man whose drab shop concealed some bigger operation that made millions. I had to be the man who had planned it all, who had come to the destroyed town at the bend in the river because he had foreseen the rich future. 'Salim, the narrator, is a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast of Central Africa. Salim has left the coast to make his way in the interior, there to take on a small trading shop of this and that, sundries, sold to the natives. The place is 'a bend in the river'; it is Africa. The time is post-colonial, the time of Independence. The Europeans have withdrawn or been forced to withdraw and the scene is one of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation, poverty and a lack of preparation for the modern world they have entered, or partially assumed as a sort of decoration. It is a 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.
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'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 UpdikeFrom the Inside Flap:
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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