In a Free State
V. S. Naipaul
With an introduction by publisher and acclaimed author Robert McCrum.
Winner of the Booker Prize 1971 and nominated for the Golden Man Booker Prize in 2018.
A young Indian servant in Washington. An Asian West Indian in London. Both are far from home and both are desperately trying to build a new life in a deeply unfamiliar world. In between them lies the landscape of an unnamed country, a brutal place reminiscent of Idi Amin’s Uganda. This central story is about those who once thought of Africa as liberating, but now find themselves in an increasingly harsher reality.
Winner of the Booker Prize in 1971, In a Free State is one of Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul’s many towering literary achievements. It is a story of the desperation and heartbreak we find in those who are displaced and who try, often in vain, to make a home in their new surroundings. Frightening, disquieting and merciless, this is one of Sir Naipaul’s greatest novels: fraught but full of pity.
A book of such lucid complexity and such genuine insight, so deft and deep, that it somehow manages to agitate, charm, amuse and excuse the reader all at the same pitch of experience
Dennis Potter, The Times
Naipaul's travel writing is perhaps the most important body of work of its kind in the second half of the century