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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    138
  • 4 Stars
    119
  • 3 Stars
    74
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    11

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    96
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    83
  • 4 Stars
    62
  • 3 Stars
    41
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    9
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

OK, is the Narrator from 1926?

I now believe in time travel based on the Narrator's accent. Great story... Almost unbearable listen due to pretentious narration.

  • Overall

terrifying

terrifying. what we know about the venality of humankind laid bare. a a a a

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  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent Read

Interesting view of the place, characters, human dynamic, survival. Punguntly written. I enjoyed every page.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A crash course in postcolonial Africa.

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.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Beautiful writing, story too episodic

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.

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  • Story

Bend in the River - Post Colonial East Africa

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.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • William
  • Mount Pleasant, SC, USA
  • 02-26-13

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.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Boring, trite, boring and unimportant

Sorry.. it's horrid. The narrator did the best he could with such slow, uninteresting information. I took a class on this book and the instructor LOVED it and was so animated about its importance in the world, blah, blah, blah. The only good thing about the whole book was in chapters 7-10... The real relationships between Salim and Yvette... the sex scenes were sublime and gorgeous -- until they weren't... at any rate, except for historians and political science students, I can't see who would find this entertaining or worth spending time or money on.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Beverly Hills, MI, USA
  • 09-26-06

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.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful