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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. 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. :-)