A Bend in the River

  • by V.S. Naipaul
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A flowing history from the heart of Africa

If you're interested in central and east Africa in general, and the DRC in particular, you've doubtless read 'Heart of Darkness', 'King Leopold's Ghost' and 'In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz'. Don't miss this classic novel, which provides an engrossing first-person account of the life of an Indian shopkeeper in the remote east of what was then called Zaire. The view through the eyes of a single shopkeeper makes a grand accompaniment to those other, broader texts. The story begins before the ascendancy of President Mobutu Sese-Seko, describes the initial excitement that his authoritative reign created - often overlooked by other commentators - then traces the collapse of the regime and the country into corrupt anarchy. The characters that appear along the way symbolise many of the major attitudes towards this abortive African renaissance - the naive academic credulously serving the Big Man, disappointed ex-pats sliding into bored debauchery, arrogant young students bitter as they realise the lies they have been told, the Africa-loving priest brought to a grisly end - and, of course, the foreign traders trying to live in two worlds to profit from it all, yet with the dreadful risk of losing everything hanging over them, a threat that adds real tension to the story.
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- Nigel

The horror ?

Heart of Darkness 100 years later? Also set in the Congo, the story recounts the experience of an young Indian man who tries to make a living as a tradesman during the 1960'es and 70'es on the banks of the Congo. The author provides insight and perspective on the post-colonial experience, but the reader is still left outside the phenomena. The darkness remains, the wonder at the seemingly irrational behaviours, the violence, the randomness etc. But maybe that is exactly the message?
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- Jan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 16-09-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.