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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.   ( )


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.