[Read kindle] A Bend in the RiverAuthor V.S. Naipaul – Blockdiagramwiring.co
I always find it difficult to talk about the books I really like Especially so if it is a Naipaul book I read The Bendagain this year and found it much ensorcelling than first time around I guess what is so appealing about the book is its sense of diligence, a discipline which attempts to faithfully reflect the emerging world in Africa, as it is No no less Perhaps, this is why, even after half a century and million theses written on Africa, it still reflects the essence of Africa as none of them do.I suppose most paperback readers find it inane or even boring But, bear in mind it s not a transit read It s not a fiction of plot or story It is a narrative of reality And like all realities that are known to man, has no beginning or ending It is a snapshot of a typical third world problem ie a recently independent state or culture desparately trying to hold onto something as its own in the wake of emerging post modernism But it never has or had anything of its own, anything that would give it an identity in the contemporary world apart from the history of having been a colony Therefore it tries to manufacture a past leaders, tribes, dances, cameraderie Oh the vanities, the denials, the insecurities, amidst all that is forming and unforming, changing choices, conflicting values But it is what it is Then there is the beauty of Naipaul prose God How it flows Delicate, sublime, perfect yet letting the reader to make his own mind without patronizing or simplifying the sentiment What I found most incredible in the book is the style used to pastiche the complex reality, so unhurriedly, so gracefully as the book moves forward, it feels like a wave slowly falling and receding on a shore adding something to the before, yet taking away something after letting all the voices to speak on their own terms, to express their own realities to ultimately add up a grand reality that none of them can access in toto Here is a wonderful instance Indar is so ashamed of his third world identity that he desparately wants to trample his own pastIt isn t easy to turn your back on the past It isn t something you can decide to do just like that It is something you arm yourself for, or grief will ambush and destroy you And Raymond with his first world citizenship, so much yearns for the True Africa that his own past has no bearing on his personal life This leads to his wife s discontent and her confusion Here s Raymond musing on AfricaI was sitting in my room and thinking with sadness about all the things that have gone unrecorded Do you think we can ever get to know the truth about what has happened in Africa in the last hundred or even fifty years All the wars, all the rebellions, all the leaders, all the defeats It doesn t occur to you when you are reading it but as you move along, as the impressions of their characters are better formed , suddenly, somewhere in the next chapter perhaps, it occurs to you , that these two completely different men from completely different worlds are so unknowingly seeking each other s past They are only allowed to seek, Indar seducing Yvette or Raymond wanting to be Mommsen of Africa.., but never find But they cant give up Hence the world is what it is, always in movement. Beautiful, multi layered story, set in an unnamed African country, but very simular to the Congo or Za re in the time of dictator Mobutu The storyteller, Salim, is of Indian origin, and takes over a shop in a town, deep inland, by a bend in the river , just after independence He observes the waves of unrest and uncertainty and the rise of a Great Man in the capital You can read this novel as a lucid political story the making of a gruesome dictator, and how different people cope with it , a fine psychological story the search for its own place in life and the desillusions accompanying it , an exploration of the African soul though Naipaul can be very stereotypical about that , and a study on cultural interaction or non interaction This novel reminded me of the better work of Graham Greene, but without the morality layer There also was a bit too much of Conrads Heart of Darkness the horror, the horror in it I know he hasn t a good reputation when it comes to racism and other issues, but I definitely have to read by Naipaul I read this book in Central Africa, during my Peace Corps service I maintain that it is the best, most accurate depiction of Central African society a broad term, believe me, I know, but still that I have read.I found this novel engrossing and moving, and it inspired me to begin collecting Naipaul s other works all of which are good, albeit not as good as this one.Naipaul has been criticized for denigrating third world countries and societies Strange, since he comes from one he was born in Trinidad but lives today in the UK but the truth is that Naipaul s greatest sin is, as is too often the case, simply telling the truth Many characters in this book, for example, feign sophistication they don t have, views they ve lifted verbatim from a news clipping which they don t really understand at all, and in many other ways try to grapple with a modern world that is utterly beyond anything they comprehend, as they have only a village level perspective on the world These characterizations make liberal white people sitting in the West uncomfortable but that s their problem, and like those characters arise primarily from a lack of perspective of what life is really like on the third world side. My copy of this book is a POB previously owned book There are a lot of scribbles using different colors of highlighters pink, yellow and green In one of the pages is a name Danielle Sidari I googled her name yesterday and one of these days I will invite her to be my friend in Facebook Who knows Anyway, it is my first time to read a book with a lot of scribbles Danielle is not a bad reader Rather her comments and the phrases she underlined seem to indicate that she is smart There is just a page p 191 where she wrote Ironic and this is the part where the narrator, Salim says that he finds adultery as horrible when in fact he is sleeping with a friend s wife, Yvette Danielle seemed to have missed what Naipaul wrote on page 197, just 6 pages away from the line she finds ironicThat adultery was my pride It was also my shame, to have reduced my manhood just to that There were times, especially during slack periods in the shop, when I sat at my desk Yvette s photographs in the drawer and found myself mourning Mourning, in the midst of physical fulfillment which could not have been complete There was a time when I wouldn t have thought it possible However, this novel is a lot than adultery This is the 1979 novel that established V S Naipaul, 2001 Nobel laurate, as a literary force This is about an unnamed African country they say it is Democratic Republic of Congo previously known as Zaire after it gained independence from Belgium in June 1960 As for its theme, the opening line seems to be saying it all The world is what it is men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it The transfer of power from Belgium to the Big Man they say this is President Mabutu Sese Seko is a struggle in itself that reminds me of the transfer of power from Marcos to Aquino in 1986 But life has to go on and for me this is the overall theme of this book the changing of time There is a very nice allegory that opens the second chapter The New Domain If you look at a column of ants on the march you will see that there are some who are stragglers or have lost their way The column has no time for them it goes on Sometimes the stragglers die But even this has no effect on the column There is a little disturbance around the corpse, which is eventually carried off and then it appears so light And all the times the great busyness continues, and the apparent socialibility, that rite of meeting and greeting which ants travelling in opposite directions, to and from their nest, perform without fail The above passage reminds me of how I was fascinated watching ants when I was a small child This book is almost perfect but there is just one line that spoiled it for me On page 186, I lost a bit of respect for Naipaul as he wroteBut if women weren t stupid the world wouldn t go round Danielle put a pink question mark on this I hate sexist people I do not have respect for men who belittle women I have many women in my life and I love them all my mother, my only wife, my daughter, my sister, my mother in law, my sisters in law, my grandmother, my aunts, my many cousins, my friends, my officemates, etc Hence, I am giving this a two stars less than amazing For the love of women in my humble life. 4 30 here we go.I hear it sucks.5 7 09A total snoozefest.Naipaul is a Nobel Prize winner That s crust I did a bit of research on Naipaul as I was reading this thinking, are you freaking kidding me Rave reviews in Newsweek, New York Times and on and on and on The Nobel Committee compared Naipaul to Joseph Conrad, saying, Naipaul is Conrad s heir Maybe that s just me sticking up for Conrad, author ofHeart of Darkness and fellow Pole Or perhaps it s just me recognizing subpar literature for what it is The best part of this book was a sticky note on page 200 that said, I can t believe you made it this far Thanks, D Russ This book had such a promising start Naipaul s descriptions of mid 20th Century Africa were great and I think he did a terrific job of highlighting tribalism and what it must feel like to be considered an outsider in Africa There weren t too many likeable characters in this book I started off liking Salim because he was a young Indian man who left his home on the coast to go to a town along old slave trails However, his sexism was too much for me Obviously Naipaul feels Africa is a dark continent with no hope for the future, I m not sure why this book features so often on African book lists.Edited to add I don t think I will be reading any Naipaul books He is under the impression that there is not a single female writer, both living or dead, who can measure up to him I can think of than a few, sir This is a lousy boring book Naipaul seems very interested in telling us How The World Works, or at least how it works in Africa he does know Africa is a continent and not a country, right The problem, though, is that this is ostensibly a novel and not a work of non fiction, and Naipaul isn t a very good storyteller He mostly narrates rather than dramatizes There are long, long passages where there is no dialogue, which would be all right if something interesting actually happened in those passages I always thought it was a shame that Kurt Vonnegut never won the Nobel Prize for Literature After having read Jelinek s The Piano Teacher and now this book, I think that actually speaks well for Vonnegut Oh, and great idea using a river as your central symbol I don t think that s ever been done before. Amazing Ebook, A Bend In The River Author V.S Naipaul This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book A Bend In The River, Essay By V.S Naipaul Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You The news that V.S Naipal had won the Nobel Prize for Literature came shortly after the shocking events of 9 11 The Wall Street Journal hailed the news and editorialized that Naipal was especially worthy as a third world author who embraced the values of the west Quoting A BEND IN THE RIVER, the Journal argued that Naipal s message is that men in the third world should be judged by the same standards as men in the industrialized west For some reason, the Journal s assessment of A BEND IN THE RIVER was on my mind as I read it the past several days.It does seem likely that Naipal would have sympathy for the notion that humankind everywhere should be judged by the same standards He favors that those standards should reflect certain, not all, western political values This is most vivid as he rejects the common view that everything about colonialism in Africa was evil, even offering an apology for slavery that is reminiscent of Aristotle s defense of slavery in the Ethics Aristotle describes the slave s role in a happy household as one of respect and importance huh But Naipal describes traditional slavery in east Africa in similar terms But that is not Naipaul s central message A BEND IN THE RIVER explores the Hobbesian view that, in his natural state, each man is at war with every other man That state of nature has been realized in times of civil war in post colonial central Africa and Naipal s depiction of it is terrifying Hobbes solution to this horrifying natural state is for men to surrender their autonomy to a strong king who is given near absolute authority in exchange for order, security and safety This solution has been attempted in post colonial central Africa Naipal s Big Man is just such a leader But in late 20th century central Africa, he cannot guarantee his own safety against tribalism and violence, much less the safety of the populace His government becomes only slightly less horrifying than no government at all.When I search for a message, I conclude that Naipal is wondering about the role of institutions in moderating the behavior of humans He acknowledges that the institutions of colonialism protected the populace against violence, whereas the post colonial politics of central Africa have failed to create such institutions This is not an argument for colonialism Rather, it is an inquiry about institutions and their role in protecting humankind from our natural state, as Hobbes envisions it. The book examines the post colonial turmoil that occurs in an unnamed African country soon after it s independence However, this isn t a political thriller Naipaul takes his time with the story and the pace is fairly leasurely as the both the setting and the characters are introduced and then developed in great detail The main character is Salim, a man of ethnic Indian descent who relocates to a small town in the central African country There he buys a small shop, makes friends with other expatriates, and observes the birth pains of his newly adopted country A minor rebellion is quickly crushed and the newly elected President begins to consolidate his power and become and dictatorial as time passes The tension does ratchet up towards the end of the bookThe leasurely pace allows Naipaul to paint a complex picture of this slice of Africa The culture is described in great detail and you get a feel for the town and it s people The uneasy mix of modernality and traditional ways stands out quite often a BigBurger franchise sits near market stalls where caterpillars, grubs, and monkeys can be bought for food Throughout it all, the vestiges of the colonial past are still apparent The town is dotted with the burned out ruins of the homes of the European masters who were tossed out when independence was achieved and their statues have been torn down or defaced.Naipaul has been accused of being pro colonialism because it s not a happy picture he paints Corruption is rampant and bribes become the only way to get things done The number of Government officials seems to increase almost daily and many of them often have little to do except to think of new ways to shake the foreign residents down for bribes Through it all, the President s rhetoric takes on and the trappings of demagoguery It s not a happy picture, but it s a scenario that has played out in real life a few too many times.