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In a Free State

In a Free State
V.S. Naipaul
246 pages

In a Free State is a collection of short stories -- one more of a novella -- about expatriates living outside their home country.  Naipaul has a good vantage point, being somewhat of a "wanderer" himself:  of Indian descent, born in Trinidad, and living most of his life in England.  He is well positioned to lay bare the perceived glamour of far-off lands.  However, this book did nothing for me.  Nothing, nada, zilch. The characters were largely unlikeable.  They were mostly male, and his female characters were appallingly shallow.  And then I found it impossible to get past Naipaul's misogynist history, having psychologically abused his wife for many, many years.  It's disappointing to read a Booker prize-winner, from a Nobel prizewinning author, and have it fall so flat.

This may be my shortest review ever, but there's really nothing more I have to say.   ( )


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
3m said:
Whoa!! Thanks for this review, Laura. I'll definitely save it for last!
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
Oh yuck...I hate hearing bad reviews about books I know I eventually need to read for a challenge. I know what you mean about being waylaid by an author's background...After reading <A HREF="http://www.caribousmom.com/2007/02/08/zelda-a-biography-book-review/>Zelda</A> last year (the biography of Zelda Fitzgerald) I found myself uninterested in reading any thing by F. Scott Fitzgerald because of how he was portrayed in that book. There was an interesting conversation recently on another blog about Anne Perry having served time for assisting in the bludgeoning murder of her friend's mother (when Anne was only 16)...and now she writes best-selling murder mysteries. Many readers couldn't separate the author's murderous act from her work and so don't read her books. Hmmmmm, I'm beginning to formulate a post for Sunday Salon :) Wendy
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
Interesting Wendy! I probably wouldn't have liked this book under any circumstances, but I am sure it lost a "star" once I had read up on the author.
Apr. 24th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Darn, I messed up that link...here it is: my review of Zelda (http://www.caribousmom.com/2007/02/08/zelda-a-biography-book-review/).
Apr. 24th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Short, sweet and to the point. Sometimes that's all it has to be!

=) Jill
Apr. 25th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
There was an article in a radio programme over the weekend about Niapaul, whose work I've never read and I have to say that I thought at the time the speaker was aware that here was a writer who really needed selling. I don't think I'm going to be 'buying' anytime soon.
Apr. 25th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
That's quite interesting! I searched around on the internet before writing my review, and found surprisingly little about him and this book; what I did find was a neutral to negative. When I posted my review I feared that some Naipaul expert would come out of the woodwork and chastise me for my ignorance. So far, so good. :-)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )