A Bend in the River

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New York : Knopf, 1979 - Fiction - 278 pages
43 Reviews
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 The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with afford- able hardbound editions of impor- tant works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy- fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch- bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau- gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices. For a complete list of titles, 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."

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

Naipaul writes so well that the depressing becomes uplifting. This tale set at the bend of a river in Africa is superbly told. The only thing I can think to compare it to is listening to Joni Mitchell ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - delta351 - LibraryThing

Naipaul did a pretty smooth job in this post colonial Africa novel. I thought there was a good description of central African society in the 70's. Good caricatures of the various characters in the ... Read full review

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Contents

The New Domain
85
THREE
112
The Big Man
183
Copyright

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About the author (1979)

Born in Trinidad of Hindu parents, V. S. Naipaul was educated at Oxford University and has lived in Great Britain since 1950. With an exile's sensibility, Naipaul's writing is concerned with both the West Indies of his childhood and his strong identification with India. It focuses on personal and political freedom, the function of the writer and the nature of sexuality, and is characterized by clarity, subtlety, and detached irony of tone. The novel, Miguel Street (1959) describes the aberrant lives of a mean street in Port of Spain, Trinidad. A House for Mr. Biswas (1961), his most well-known work, solidified his reputation as a novelist. It tells the tragicomic story of the search for independence and identity of a Brahmin Indian living in Trinidad. Naipaul's work, even when he appears to be analyzing a picturesque character, is really an analysis of the entire society of Trinidad. The Middle Passage (1962) extends this analysis of the social order to other areas of the West Indies including Surinam, Martinique, Jamaica, and Guyana and finds that "the present character of the regions he visited express their history as colonial territories built on slave labor." Naipaul's work also deals with other parts of the world as well. In An Area of Darkness (1964), he expresses with sympathy and insight his observations on a trip to India, where he saw the loftiest of human values contrasted with the meanest physical suffering. His novel, A Bend in the River (1979) set in a new African nation, depicts the difficulties ordinary people face during times of political upheaval. A Turn in the South (1989) is a sensitive portrayal of the American South. Naipaul's works have elicited polarized responses, yet he is regarded by many as one of the best writers of our time, and he is a perennial nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he finally won on October 11, 2001.

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