A Bend in the River

3.76 based on 10147 ratings & 496 reviews on Goodreads.com

‘Brilliant and terrifying’ Observer

Set in an unnamed African country, the book is narrated by Salim, a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast. He believes The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it. So he has taken the initiative; left the coast; acquired his own shop in a small, growing city in the continent’s remote interior and is selling sundries – little more than this and that, really – to the natives. This spot, this ‘bend in the river’, is a microcosm of post-colonial Africa at the time of Independence: a scene of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation and poverty. And from this rich landscape emerges one of the author’s most potent works – a truly moving story of historical upheaval and social breakdown.

‘Naipaul has fashioned a work of intense imaginative force. It is a haunting creation, rich with incident and human bafflement, played out in an immense detail of landscape rendered with a poignant brilliance.’ Elizabeth Hardwick

‘Always a master of fictional landscape, Naipaul here shows, in his variety of human examples and in his search for underlying social causes, a Tolstoyan spirit’ John Updike

Set in an unnamed African country, the book is narrated by Salim, a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast. He believes "The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it." So he has taken the initiative; left the coast; acquired his own shop in a small, growing city in the continent’s remote interior and is selling sundries – little more than this and that, really – to the natives. This spot, this ‘bend in the river’, is a microcosm of post-colonial Africa at the time of Independence: a scene of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation and poverty. And from this rich landscape emerges one of the author’s most potent works – a truly moving story of historical upheaval and social breakdown.

About V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River and most recently The Masque of Africa, and a collection of correspondence, Letters Between A Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Read More

Books by V. S. Naipaul

The Writer and the World
The Writer and the World
The Mimic Men
The Mimic Men
The Nightwatchman's Occurrence Book
The Nightwatchman's Occurrence Book
Guerrillas
Guerrillas
Miguel Street
Miguel Street
In a Free State
In a Free State
The Mystic Masseur
The Mystic Masseur
The Masque of Africa
The Masque of Africa
The Middle Passage
The Middle Passage
Literary Occasions
Literary Occasions
A Writer's People
A Writer's People
Letters Between a Father and Son
Letters Between a Father and Son
A Turn in the South
A Turn in the South
A House For Mr Biswas
A House For Mr Biswas
Magic Seeds
Magic Seeds
The Enigma of Arrival
The Enigma of Arrival
Half a Life
Half a Life
A Way in the World
A Way in the World
Among the Believers
Among the Believers
An Area of Darkness
An Area of Darkness
India: A Million Mutinies Now
India: A Million Mutinies Now
The Loss of El Dorado
The Loss of El Dorado
India: A Wounded Civilization
India: A Wounded Civilization
Beyond Belief
Beyond Belief