BrothersJudd.com
Loading

Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email

Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at audible.com!
Download and Listen to any Audiobook for only $7.49. Save 50% for 3 months on over 100,000 Titles.

A Bend in the River ()


Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (83)

In Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul chronicles the descent of a Central African nation (Zaire) from postColonial disruption to New African corruption to utter chaos & hooliganism.  All of these events are seen through the eyes of Salim, a Muslim Indian shopkeeper, whose store is in a town where, decades earlier, the faltering Arabs first confronted the ascendant Europeans. Just as the Europeans replaced the Arabs, indigenous movements are now sending the Europeans packing.

Salim is in an especially tenuous position, neither European nor African, he is trapped in the collision between African Nationalism and a heritage of European colonialism.  He is not an apologist for the West, but he does acknowledge that:

    Those of us who had been in that part of Africa before the Europeans had never lied about
    ourselves. Not because we were more moral. We didn't lie because we never assessed ourselves
    and didn't think there was anything for us to lie about; we were people who simply did what we did.
    But the Europeans could do one thing and say something quite different; and they could act in this
    way because they had an idea of what they owed to their civilization. It was their great
    advantage over us. The Europeans wanted gold and slaves, like everybody else; but at the same
    time they wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves.
    Being an intelligent and energetic people, at the peak of their powers, they could express both sides
    of their civilization; and they got both the slaves and the statues.

On the other hand, he describes the natives as malins, humans who treat other humans as prey.  Meanwhile Salim and his people are merely trying to get along: "My wish was not to be good,...but to make good."

His willingness to look honestly at the deterioration of conditions in former colonies when the Europeans withdraw and his criticism of the natives of these lands has earned Naipaul the enmity of many.  But his novels offer an important corrective to the romantic view of the Third World and they were especially useful at the time, the 60's & 70's, when they were published.

This is not a Top 100 novel, but it's a decent one.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C)

  

Websites:

V.S. Naipaul Links:

    -PROFILE : 'The Writer and the World': The Blunt Opinions of a Professional Provocateur (DAPHNE MERKIN, September 1, 2002, NY Times)
    -ESSAY:BORROWED CULTURE: V. S. Naipaul out-Englishes the English (HILTON ALS, 2003-02-24, The New Yorker)     -Sir V.S. Naipaul (Nobel Site)
    -V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul (1932-)  (kirjasto)
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : "naipaul"
    -FEATURED AUTHOR : V. S. Naipaul (NY Times Book Review)
    -Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (Emory University)
    -Borzoi Reader | Authors | VS Naipaul
    -ARCHIVES : Naipaul (NY Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES : naipaul (Salon)
    -The Internet Public Library : Online Literary Criticism Collection : V.S. Naipaul (1932 - )
    -Postcolonial & PostImperial Literature: An Overview
   -Extract from a Seminar with VSN (Banyan)
    -Literature of South Asia and the Indian diaspora
    -V.S. Naipail: An Overview
    -EXCERPT : First Chapter of Between Father and Son
    -ESSAY : Among the Believers (V. S. Naipaul, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY : India After Indira Gandhi (V.S. Naipaul, NY Times, November 3, 1984)
    -ESSAY : Our Universal Civilization (V.S. Naipaul, NY Times, November 5, 1990)
    -ESSAY :  The Writer and India  (V.S. Naipaul, NY Review of Books)
    -ESSAY : Reading & Writing  (V.S. Naipaul, NY Review of Books)
    -ESSAY : Indonesia: The Man of the Moment   (V.S. Naipaul, NY Review of Books)
    -LECTURE : Our Universal Civilization (V. S. Naipaul, The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research : The 1990 Wriston Lecture, October 30, 1990)
    -INTERVIEW : Online NewsHour: VS Naipaul (March 3, 2000, PBS)
    -INTERVIEW : V. S. Naipaul in Search of Himself: A Conversation (MEL GUSSOW, April 24, 1994, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : The Nobelist within : V.S. Naipaul, a perceptive writer, says he can pick out his own flaws as well as other people's (Bob Graham, SF Chronicle)
    -INTERVIEW : Questions for V.S. Naipaul on His Contentious Relationship to Islam (ADAM SHATZ, October 28, 2001, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : The Writer-to-Be and His Mentor: An Interview With V. S. Naipaul (Jan. 5, 2000, NY Times Book Review)
    -INTERVIEW : Meeting V. S. Naipaul (May 13, 1979,  Elizabeth Hardwick, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : Naipaul Reviews His Past From Afar (December 1, 1980, Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : V.S. Naipaul: 'It Is Out of This Violence I've Always Written' (September16, 1984, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : The Enigma of V.S. Naipaul's Search for Himself in Writing (April 25,1987, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : V. S. Naipaul in Search of Himself: A Conversation (April 24, 1994, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : from At Random Magazine
    -PROFILE : Writer Without Roots (December 26, 1976, Mel Gussow, NY Times)
    -PROFILE : Another Bend in the River for Naipaul (MEL GUSSOW, November 15, 2001, NY Times)
    -PRESS RELEASE : The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001 : V.S. Naipaul (Swedish Academy, 11 October 2001)
    -ARTICLE : V.S. Naipaul Awarded 2001 Nobel Prize in Literature (THE NEW YORK TIMES, October 11, 2001)
    -ARTICLE ; V S Naipaul wins the Nobel Prize in literature (Sydney Morning Herald, October 11,10)
    -ESSAY : VS Naipaul launches attack on Islam (Fiachra Gibbons,  October 4, 2001, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY : Why Sir Vidia Won : Dour, incendiary, critic of colonizers (and colonists) Naipaulís Nobel is politically timely. But itís still all about his talent (Malcolm Jones, 10/11/01, NEWSWEEK )
    -ESSAY : Nobel questions (Al-Ahram Weekly Online,  18 - 24 October 2001)
    -PROFILE : Home, to the snakes and the sensitive plants : Lieve Joris talked to V S Naipaul and his family in Trinidad in the early
1990s. Her essay casts fresh light on the the novelist and his often shocking attitudes to his native land and its people (December 2001, New Statesman)
    -PROFILE :  Wanderer Of Endless Curiosity : A self-made man of many parts, the Trinidad-born and Oxford-bred writer V.S. NAIPAUL mirrors a world in constant social flux (R.Z. SHEPPARD, Jul 10 2001, TIME)
    -PROFILE : Plebeian Blair is arts vandal, rages Naipaul (Nigel Reynolds, 11/07/2000, Daily Telegraph)
    -PROFILE : Naipaul, a fighter who will never pull his punches  (Nigel Reynolds, 12/10/2001, Daily Telegraph)
    -PROFILE : Naipaul's bleak honesty wins admirers, but not friends (John Casey, Daily Telegraph)
    -PROFILE : Author at peace with land of forefathers : Nobel winner has lost the chip on his shoulder and come to terms with his Indian heritage, says Amit Roy (Daily Telegraph, 12/10/2001)
    -ARTICLE : UK writer Naipaul wins Nobel award (October 11, 2001 , CNN)
    -ARTICLE : Naipaul awarded literature's top prize Ã�(The Age, 12 October 2001)
    -ARTICLE : Britain's Naipaul awarded Nobel Prize in literature : Author has drawn fire for criticism of Islam (JEROME WEEKS, 10/12/2001, The Dallas Morning News)
    -ARTICLE : Nobel reward for Naipaul's 'incorruptible scrutiny' (Louise Jury, 12 October 2001, Independent uk)
    -ARTICLE : V.S. Naipaul Receives Nobel for Literature (MARJORIE MILLER, LA Times)
    -ARTICLE : V S Naipaul wins Nobel prize for literature (Nigel Reynolds, 12/10/2001, Daily Telegraph)
    -EDITORIAL : A Nobel for Mr. Naipaul (NY Times, October 12, 2001)
    -IDEA OF THE DAY : Naipaul's Islam (Inigo Thomas, Oct. 12, 2001, Salon)
    -ESSAY : Strange News From Sweden : The Nobel Prize goes to a writer of actual merit. What  happened? (TUNKU VARADARAJAN, October 12, 2001, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY : A burst of clarity (New Criterion, November 2001)
    -ESSAY : The Closing of the Islamic Mind : A decade ago, Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul knew the dangers of a backward-looking Islam. (David Brooks, 10/11/2001, Weekly Standard)
    -ESSAY :  Beyond Belief? : Nobel Prize-winner V.S. Naipaul's accounts of Islam presuppose the superiority of modern skepticism. (John Wilson | posted 10/15/01, Books & Culture)
    -ESSAY : Man Without a Country : V.S. Naipaul's Nobel tour (JON GARELICK, January 17, 2002, Boston Phoenix)
    -ESSAY : October Surprise  : Any other year, giving reactionary author V. S Nipaul a Nobel Prize would have sparked debate (Paul Gray, December 2001, Smithsonian)
    -ESSAY : A notebook for Mr Biswas : V S Naipaul now argues that the welfare state has created an army of thugs.  But, once, his enlightened views on culture and society inspired Amitava Kumar  (New Statesman, September 2001)
    -Ideas Trials Tribulations (1998 Forbes column about Naipaul on the Asia Crisis)
    -ESSAY :  The Enigma of Denial (Caryl Phillips, The New Republic)
    -ESSAY : V.S. Naipaul's way in the world (@Random Magazine)
    -ESSAY :  The Humor and the Pity (Amitava Kumar,  January 28, 2002, The Prospect)
    -ESSAY : Rushdie, Naipaul, and Blurring Postcolonial Borders (Anthony R. Guneratne)
    -ESSAY : Killing the Father: After 30 years of friendship, why did Paul Theroux stab V.S. Naipaul in the back? (Salon Magazine)
    -ARCHIVES : V. S. Naipaul (booksonline uk)
    -REVIEW : of Among the Believers : An Islamic Journey (1981) (FOUAD AJAMI, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of  BEYOND BELIEF Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples. By V. S. Naipaul (Michael Ignatieff, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples by V.S. Naipaul (FOUAD AJAMI, 07.13.98, New Republic)
    -REVIEW : of The Mystic Masseur by V. S. Naipaul (MARTIN LEVIN, April 12, 1959, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of Guerrillas (1975) (PAUL THEROUX, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of A Bend in the River (Irving Howe, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul  Bankruptcy and Revolt: (NY Review of Books, John Thompson)
    -REVIEW : of Between Father and Son (ABRAHAM VERGHESE, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Between Father and Son: Family Letters Ã�and Reading and Writing: A Personal Account by V.S. Naipaul (CARYL PHILLIPS, 05.29.00, New Republic)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life by  V.S. Naipaul (Jason Cowley, The Observer)
    -REVIEW : of  Ã� Half A Life by V. S. Naipaul (Patrick Marnham, The Spectator)
    -REVIEW : of  Half a Life by V S Naipaul (Jonathan Bate, booksonline)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life by VS Naipaul : Into the lion's den :  Why is Naipaul acting up and writing down? Having read Half a Life, Paul Theroux has some ideas (The Guardian)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life  by V.S. Naipaul (James Wood, New Republic)
    -REVIEW : of HALF A LIFE By V.S. Naipaul (Ron Charles, CS Monitor)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (Richard Stern, Chicago Tribune
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (Jennie A. Camp, Rocky Mountain News)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life. (The Economist)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (LEE SIEGEL, LA Times)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (John Freeman, The Denver Post)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life By V.S. Naipaul (Geordie Williamson, Sydney Morning Herald)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (RENATA GOLDEN, Houston Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of Half a Life (Diane Mehta, Atlantic Monthly)

Book-related and General Links:
    -V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul (1932-)  (kirjasto)
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA : "naipaul"
    -FEATURED AUTHOR : V. S. Naipaul (NY Times Book Review)
    -V.S. Naipaul (Amit Mookerjee)
    -ARTICLE : Naipaul derides novels of Forster,  'a nasty homosexual'  (Paul Kelso, August 2, 2001, The Guardian)
    -ARTICLE : 'It is terrible, this plebeian culture that celebrates itself'  : Famous author accuses Blair of leading socialist revolution that is destroying the idea of civilisation and the arts. (Fiachra Gibbons,  July 11, 2000, The Guardian)
    -ARCHIVES : Naipaul (NY Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES : naipaul (Salon)
    -ESSAY : Among the Believers (V. S. Naipaul, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY : India After Indira Gandhi (V.S. Naipaul, NY Times, November 3, 1984)
    -ESSAY : Our Universal Civilization (V.S. Naipaul, NY Times, November 5, 1990)
    -ESSAY :  The Writer and India  (V.S. Naipaul, NY Review of Books)
    -ESSAY : Reading & Writing  (V.S. Naipaul, NY Review of Books)
    -ESSAY : Indonesia: The Man of the Moment   (V.S. Naipaul, NY Review of Books)
    -INTERVIEW : The Writer-to-Be and His Mentor: An Interview With V. S. Naipaul (Jan. 5, 2000, NY Times Book Review)
    -INTERVIEW : Meeting V. S. Naipaul (May 13, 1979,  Elizabeth Hardwick, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : Naipaul Reviews His Past From Afar (December 1, 1980, Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : V.S. Naipaul: 'It Is Out of This Violence I've Always Written' (September16, 1984, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : The Enigma of V.S. Naipaul's Search for Himself in Writing (April 25,1987, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : V. S. Naipaul in Search of Himself: A Conversation (April 24, 1994, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : from At Random Magazine
    -PROFILE : Writer Without Roots (December 26, 1976, Mel Gussow, NY Times)
    -The Internet Public Library : Online Literary Criticism Collection : V.S. Naipaul (1932 - )
    -Postcolonial & PostImperial Literature: An Overview
   -Extract from a Seminar with VSN (Banyan)
    -Literature of South Asia and the Indian diaspora
    -V.S. Naipail: An Overview
    -Ideas Trials Tribulations (1998 Forbes column about Naipaul on the Asia Crisis)
    -ESSAY :  The Enigma of Denial (Caryl Phillips, The New Republic)
    -ESSAY : V.S. Naipaul's way in the world (@Random Magazine)
    -ESSAY : Rushdie, Naipaul, and Blurring Postcolonial Borders (Anthony R. Guneratne)
    -ESSAY : Killing the Father: After 30 years of friendship, why did Paul Theroux stab V.S. Naipaul in the back? (Salon Magazine)
    -REVIEW : of A Bend in the River (Irving Howe, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul  Bankruptcy and Revolt: (NY Review of Books, John Thompson)
    -REVIEW : Pankaj Mishra: The House of Mr. Naipaul , NY Review of Books
               Between Father and Son: Family Letters by V.S. Naipaul
    -REVIEW : Ian Buruma: In the Empire of Islam, NY Review of Books
               Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples by V.S. Naipaul

GENERAL :
    -1997 Forbes article on Idi Amin's expulsion of the Indians

Comments: