☯Emily's Reviews > A Bend in the River

A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
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's review
Jul 31, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: imperialist-literature
Read in October, 2010

A slow moving novel about the Congo after the Belgians stranded the populace without education or the expertise to govern themselves. If you want to know why the Congo is in the desperate condition it is today, then reading this book will help. The people struggle with determining who they are. Do they reject all they learned from the colonizers and revert to their inter-tribal conflicts or so they look to the future and forget the past? It is also suggested that Africans might try to look to the European culture while holding on to the tribal cultural beliefs. In the end, no solution is found and chaos results. Since this book is written in the 1970's and the conditions in the Congo have not improved, it is sobering to consider how long a country can survive with greedy and ruthless rulers and hatred between ethnic groups. I gave the book 4 stars because there is gratuitous sexual behavior that contributed nothing to the story.
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07/14/2016 marked as: read

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Timothy Smith Hello Emily,
A Bend in the River has always been one of my favorite books and I see that you gave it a high rating as well. It’s a book that I often thought about as I wrote my own novel, Cooper’s Promise, which I think you might enjoy.

Also set in Africa, Cooper’s Promise plays out against the background of the continent’s chronic civil wars as opposed to Naipaul’s post-independence chaos. It’s a more contemporary book and touches on topics of human trafficking and blood diamonds. My writing is sparer than Naipaul’s but I aim for the same rich visual texture and sense of place—which is one of the things that stands out for me in A Bend in the River.

Cooper's Promise tells the story of a soldier who vows to save a young girl who's been trafficked in order to redeem himself for another promise he couldn’t keep. It's exciting, fast-paced, and literary at the same time. It was twice shortlisted for the prestigious Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, and the screenplay adaptation has won five grand prizes and first places in addition to distinctions for Best Original Drama and Best Male Lead.

Here’s a link to the Nook version: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/coope...

Here’s a link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1462084087/r...

You will find a synopsis on either site.

Thanks, and keep on reading -- it gives us writers hope.


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