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Suffrage of Elvira
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Suffrage of Elvira

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  18 reviews
'I promising you,' said Mrs Baksh of the Elvira district election in Trinidad, for all it began sweet, it going to end damn sour.'

And she was right: Surujpat Harbans, the candidate, had to square Chittaranjan, the goldsmith, to get the Hindu vote and Baksh, the tailor, to get the Muslim vote. And he had to woo the negro away from his coolly eloquent rival, Preacher.

Petrol
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Paperback, Penguin #2938, main series, 207 pages
Published 1976 by Penguin Books (first published 1958)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 271)
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Moses Kilolo
Politics is indeed a dirty game. But this book is to make you know that it can be funny too. Naipul's intensely readable book, full of drama and raw humor, is perhaps the only book of its length that I've read in a day. (kuddos to me – building my focus, deepening my concentration.)

The story centers on the events that lead up to the election of one Mr. Surujpat Harbans to the Legislative council in one of Trinidad's counties. The politics played here are plagued by inexperienced ambition (in the
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Lobstergirl
Feb 04, 2014 Lobstergirl marked it as aborted  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, covers, fiction

I want to read more Naipaul, but I couldn't get past p. 16 of this. I guess I'll hang on to it for a few more years rather than toss it in the dumpster, because other reviewers seemed to like its slapstick comedic qualities quite a bit.
Judy

Naipaul's second novel again takes place in Trinidad. It is a spoof on democracy and elections in a developing country.

Mr Surujpat Harbans is running for General Assembly as representative for the village of Elvira. Of course he doesn't live there but lives in the city. He is financing his own campaign and visits Elvira to line up his supporters. The villagers, in just four years of democracy, have figured out how to make money for themselves by offering various services to the candidate.

This ma
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Cbj
I live in an Indian state where Hindus, Muslims and Christians are constantly pitted against each other during election time by various political parties. The multi-cultural society in Naipaul's novel, set in Elvira, a Carribean island is not too different from the one in my home state. I could completely identify with the machinations and blatant vote bank politics of the "powers that be" (though in this novel, the leaders are as wretched as the people they attempt to lead).

A lot of people lik
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Joy Ramlogan
since I read this as a teenager, as part of the ritual of elections in Trinidad, I would re-read this book. Very few books like this satire are laugh till you cry in places. County Naparoni, the candidate and the plethora of Trinis are so real in places, that you wonder whether fiction imitates reality or vice versa. Mr. Naipaul our first and only (so far) Nobel Laureate for Literature is a master of voice - he uses standard english spelling with the tone and timing to replicate Trinidadian dial ...more
Sue-ann Evans
Love this book. I can see this happening in the rural areas of my country, where the story is set
Noah
I read 10 books by Naipaul over the years and I'm a big fan. Unfortunately this one is by far the weakest. He tries to be funny, in vain.
Joz1
If you come from the islands, this book can not be put down.
Aditya
A hilarious black comedy of ne'er do wells in the vein of A Confederacy of Dunces. I cant say how much cultural inside-baseball you need to get this book, but being Indian American mysel I was laughing more at nuances that I was reading into the work that Naipul may or may not have intended. His strong racial hand is still present here, but I say throw PC to the side for a bit and enjoy this bit of political satire. Hell, its not like this election makes any more sense than the USA in 2004.
matt
idk it was okay. it was cool reading about trinidad and their first elections and post-colonial life and the effect of obeah on trinidadians and generational differences etc., but i think it would've worked better as a short story. for me it got redundant a little before halfway. sorry. maybe one day ill grow up and take off my diapers and appreciate it
Diana
The most accessible Naipaul book I have read. Not as deep as Bend in the River, but funny and worth a read. Also it's short.
Nallasivan V
Part Wodehouse, Part R K Narayanan, This is the best slapstick comedy novel I have ever read!
Jscorse
Another good one by Naipaul, coming from someone who didn't really like A House for Mr. Biswas.
Renee
Oct 12, 2007 Renee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: smart, hilarious
hilarious, sad, insightful novel/commentary on the "democratic process" in the West Indies.
Renee
Jul 20, 2011 Renee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Trinidadians
Classic Naipaul. Very funny book too. I love how he captures the vibe of Trinidadians.
Shivanee (Novel Niche)
Full review forthcoming at Novel Niche.
Carol Allen
Hilarious but also profound.
Devon
A funny look at politics and politricks in the fictional village of Elvira, in a budding democracy. Based in the pre-independence era of Trinidad circa 1955.
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Naipaul was born and raised in Trinidad, to which his grandfathers had emigrated from India as indentured servants. He is known for the wistfully comic early novels of Trinidad, the bleaker novels of a wider world remade by the passage of peoples, and the vigilant chronicles of his life and travels, all written in characteristic, widely admired, prose.

At 17, he won a Trinidad Government scholarshi
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More about V.S. Naipaul...
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