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A Bend in the River | [V.S. Naipaul]

A Bend in the River

In this incandescent novel, V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man, an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.
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Publisher's Summary

In this incandescent novel, V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man, an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions.

©1979 V.S. Naipaul; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"A brilliant novel." (The New York Times)
"Confirms Naipaul's position as one of the best writers now at work." (Newsweek)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (237 )
5 star
 (74)
4 star
 (78)
3 star
 (54)
2 star
 (21)
1 star
 (10)
Overall
3.7 (94 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (6)
Story
4.0 (88 )
5 star
 (31)
4 star
 (35)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    Saman Houston, TX, United States 11-16-13
    Saman Houston, TX, United States 11-16-13 Member Since 2010

    sam_perera

    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    56
    43
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing prose"

    What an amazing listen this book was. Totally engrossing! Salim’s life starts as an adventure, an escape from the mundane, and yet becomes colorful, complex and hectic. The writing is the true champion here and the surroundings, the people, politics and Africa, the supporting pillar. You really aren’t quite sure how it will all end but as the narrator is telling us of his past, we can only deduce that no calamity occurs. This was my first Naipaul and I hope to engross myself in more of his tales. Ah, the ending – was that an ending? We will never know I guess.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Mount Pleasant, SC, USA 02-26-13
    William Mount Pleasant, SC, USA 02-26-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Book of Life in Africa"
    Would you listen to A Bend in the River again? Why?

    I enjoyed reading this book, but I'm not sure if I would read it again and it isn't placed among my favorites. It is very well written and paints a picture of Africa that puts the reader there, but it's not necessarily a gripping tale.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What I liked best about the book were the details of life that the characters went through, they give the story more life and texture.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    None of the individual scenes stood out that much to me, the dramatic events seemed to happen abruptly and without fanfare.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I feel that some things in the book were a bit of a let down. For instance, Salim's romance with Yvette was promising but then abruptly ended with violence that was unjustified and unexplained to the reader. Salim was done with her, but why did he beat her? It doesn't make sense.


    Any additional comments?

    Simon Vance was, once again, outstanding. I would never think twice about listening to one of his narrations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Dunedin, New Zealand 02-23-13
    Rochelle Dunedin, New Zealand 02-23-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    138
    55
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Yawn"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is a "classic". Normally for me that's a must read, but a combination of a selfish & otherwise uninteresting character along side "adequate" narration made this book a drag to listen to.

    I'm not sure who would enjoy this one.


    Would you recommend A Bend in the River to your friends? Why or why not?

    Not a chance. I stuck with it only because it was so highly rated elsewhere but I think this is one that has been oversold. It doesn't live up to it's hype.

    I finished it as I wanted to do it justice. I've read it. I won't be reading that one again & I won't recommend it to anyone else.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Vance’s performances?

    I love Simon Vance's narration - he's my favourite reader, but I did not enjoy his performance of this story. If he couldn't save this no-one can, but in the future I'll definitely be listening to other books he's narrated.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom.


    Any additional comments?

    This book appeared on a top 100 books of all time. Not in my top 100 that's for sure. Give it a miss, try something else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Beverly Hills, MI, USA 09-26-06
    Karen Beverly Hills, MI, USA 09-26-06 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "confusing"

    I was disappointed in this novel. After listening to it for over 10 hrs. the book just ended with no conclusion. Additionally, while the reader was good the book was rather boring.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    reggie p PA 07-12-05
    reggie p PA 07-12-05 Member Since 2003

    reggie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    659
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    607
    72
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Disappointed"

    I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. I found it boring and had trouble staying with it. Maybe I missed the point, but it just didn't seem to have one. I'm not sure I learned anything about Africa, which was the main reason I selected it. The narrator did a good job with it, however.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
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