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A Bend in the River

V. S. Naipaul

 

 

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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 slling 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.

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