A Bend In The River

“The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.”

V. S. Naipaul’s book A Bend In The River is set in Africa. The story is narrated by Salim, a Indian Muslim who is brought up in an African country on the coast. His family is into business and when he gets bored with the easy life on the coast, he ventures to set up a business in a town deep inside Africa beside a river. Through his eyes, the reader gets to see how life changes in the African town and its country as a new leader takes control after independence bringing change and reform which in the end turns out to be not so purely good after all. All this is seen through Salim’s or his friends’ eyes as the reader goes through their daily life. Being a long time African resident but not a native, he gives a mix of an insider and outsider view of the African town life.

A Bend In The River is not too long and is quite an easy read. Naipaul’s details on Africa town life are vivid and detailed. It is easy to see similarities between that and some facets of India too.

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