©1979 V.S. Naipaul; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
"A brilliant novel." (The New York Times)
"Confirms Naipaul's position as one of the best writers now at work." (Newsweek)
This is a nice novel, which describes the dynamics that most African countries went through in the years around their independence from the previous colonisers.
Naispul brilliantly describes the delicate relationships between the various African ethnic groups and nationalities, those people's interactions with expatriates and among the expatriates themselves. He describes a country (likely to be contemporary DR Congo) in moral, institutional and cultural decay and confusion resulting from the sudden changes that the country has to go through.
It is an honest and realistic portrait of postcolonial Africa written in an rich, sometimes poetic, language that leaves one with the feeling of actually being there in person.
Simon Vance delivers a nice performance that catches very well the spirit and the tone of the book.
The writing is vivid and poetic, but without a compelling plot, it's hard to fully enjoy this novel. This feels more like a journalistic account of post-colonial Africa than a story. The protagonist's goal seems to be to make a living and find amorous success. Frankly, it's just not that interesting.
I'm glad I listened to it -- the narration is top notch -- but I won't listen to it again.
Book: I enjoyed the book since it is three interesting points. It is a story about East Africa after independence and from a Muslim of Indio-Pakistan descent. These factors provide an interesting point of view in time, place, and circumstances. It is not fast pace story but moves at an acceptable speed.
Performance: The reader is professional and good actor. He enhances the text.
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 I liked best about the book were the details of life that the characters went through, they give the story more life and texture.
None of the individual scenes stood out that much to me, the dramatic events seemed to happen abruptly and without fanfare.
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.
Simon Vance was, once again, outstanding. I would never think twice about listening to one of his narrations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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