Valentina's Reviews > A Bend in the River

A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
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Apr 20, 10

Read in April, 2010

By personal upbringing and sheer talent, Naipaul can talk about far-away lands and people of mixed origins and nomadic lifestyles like nobody else. Here, with his typically honest and sometime ruthless eye, Naipaul takes the reader to the heart of Africa, to a town that sits by a bend in an unnamed river (which is thought to be the Congo). He zooms on the life of Salim, the narrator, an Africa-born Indian Muslim who moves from the east coast to the interior in the hope of finding fortune and, instead, ends up banging his head against the continent's never ending political turns, revolutions and rebellions...It is a great book about imperialism, with insights on the minds of both the foreign invaders and the local population, and about European expats and the lives they still hope to live in those countries that were once colonies. I have read only a handful of other books in which characters are so well developed and all-around as here. It is a tale of decent people, scheming minds, and a lot of unmet expectations. The opening line of the book is among the most famous and memorable: "The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it."
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