David Lentz's Reviews > A Bend in the River

A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
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Jun 19, 2011

it was amazing

I suppose it's inevitable that readers will compare Naipaul's view of the bush to Joseph Conrad's. Naipaul portrays an ancient African civilization coming to grips with the intrusion of modern society thrust by economic boom into its midst. So the merchants and business traders take the steamer up the river to a bend where the New Africa is emerging. However, deep and primitive aggressions always seem to surface perhaps because they are so imbedded into man's warrior instincts. And the New Africa cannot seem to get beyond this to create a society in which peace and justice prevail. The irony is that such qualities exist elsewhere among more advanced societies, as well: society can't seem to transcend its own penchant for violence. Perhaps, that's because beneath the veneer of the human persona there lies a heart of darkness. Mankind's inability to cope with its brutality and baser instincts represent a challenge not only in the bush. It's a universal battle royal that Naipaul's insightful and brilliantly written novel epitomizes. This author is a worthy Nobel laureate for his work over a period of decades.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K He won it a decade back.

message 2: by David (last edited Mar 30, 2012 04:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Lentz Dear Krishna,
Thanks for your note reminding me to update this older review of VS Naipaul.
I originally wrote this review for a "Bend in the River" by VS Naipaul on Amazon on April 3, 2000, advocating him for the Nobel Prize before he won it. So my review proved to be a little bit prophetic, which is no big deal given the obvious merits of Naipaul's genius as a novelist. The review still resides on Amazon if you want to read it and other reviews of his work: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-r...
Based on the strength of a masterpiece like "A House for Mr. Biswas" as well as other great but somewhat lesser works like this one, Naipaul -- arrogant as he often seems to be -- was worthy of this award for the merits of his writing.
Thanks, again, Krishna.

message 3: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Yes Mr. David. It was indeed prescient for you to see the time has come to award this prize to Naipaul. He got it in 2001, if I am not wrong. He was already though much read by then, liked or disliked by the readers.
Thanks for writing.
Best wishes.
Krishna Bhatt.
Author.Kathmandu, Nepal.

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