In a Free State Paperback – 19 Aug 2011
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"V. S. Naipaul tells stories which show us ourselves and the reality we live in. His use of language is as precise as it is beautiful." -- "The London Times" "A Tolstoyan spirit....The so-called Third World has produced no more brilliant literary artist." --John Updike, "The New Yorker " "The coolest literary eye and the most lucid prose we have." "--The New York"
The central novel from V.S. Naipaul’s Booker Prize-winning narrative of displacement, published for the first time in a stand-alone edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The travel log of a traveller making his way to Egypt sandwiches the middle three stories. These two pieces are the least impressive of the books contents but set the scene for writings on displacement and cultural interaction. Particularly the observations of some Chinese communists at the end of the story highlight the theme of freedom Naipaul is illustrating through out the book- effectively the Chinese try to offer poor Egyptians freedom in the form of Marxism and this remains the most generous proposal during all the stories.
The second story (One Out Of Many) follows an Indian immigrant, Santoosh, in Washington DC who’s financial luck improves in the USA but at the cost to his self-identity and free choice. Santoosh is possibly the most sympathetic character throughout IAFS and his plight brings home to the reader how hard it can be, socially, for a person arriving in a new culture.
The middle piece (Tell Me Who To Kill) shows how circumstances of racism, unfairness and unfulfilled dreams can bring out the anger and disappointment in someone. The unnamed narrator of this story leaves his home in the West Indies to head for London where his brother is supposed to be studying.Read more ›
The first narrative is a brief account of an Indian servant, Santosh, who travels from Bombay to Washington, with his employer. The tale written in first person portrays the struggles that Santosh faces, as he has left his homeland and is placed in a alien culture, he can not understand. The second narrative, Tell Me who to Kill, describes the search of another man pulled between two cultures, as he travels to London to help his brother.
The main novel, is the essence of cultural conflict, set in the war torn continent of Africa, and joins two English characters, working for the government, as they travel along the roads of the state towards the compound. The country has split in two, and tribal conflict has taken over. While the two english characters, Bobby and Linda remain somewhat neutral, in an effort to bring peace, their opposing views make interested conversations on their journey, coupled with numerous incidents along the way, the situation of the country begins to unfold.
An insightful, though sometimes brutal look at the changes in culture and effects of boundaries on continents, countries, tribes, and individual characters. A thoroughly readable book, by the excellent V.S. Naipul whose effortless writing conjures such a real atmosphere.
Great to see it being republished
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story gives an insight into brutality and primitiveness of African politics. The irony of the title tells its own tale.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Stunning book! By page 3 you know this is something special. Does make you examine yourself though, and not always a comfortable read. My first V. S. Naipaul, about to order more.Published 20 months ago by 8th Floor Ben.
Nepal's writing is excellent and this account of the experiences of ex pats in Africa revealing.Published 22 months ago by Christine Denovan
The copy I read was a printing of the original book which won the 1971 Booker Prize. The author subsequently agreed with the publisher to allow the central African novella to be... Read morePublished on 21 May 2014 by John Goddard
This version of "In a free state" contains only the central novella, but what an interesting read it is. Read morePublished on 23 April 2014 by Mr. S. Harris
I could have given this a higher rating and the reason I didn't was that there is not a single likeable character in the book. Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2014 by Marge
In a Free State: The Novel is NOT the full book. It is the central novel without the supporting stories that constituted the edition that won the Booker prize. Read morePublished on 24 Feb. 2013 by More Guinness
THis collection is one of Naipaul's darkest. While I dutifully plowed through it, I was depressed by the emptiness and psycholigical terror of just about every story. Read morePublished on 8 May 2011 by rob crawford
I enjoyed this book of short stories a little more than my previous Naipaul- a House for Mr. Biswas. Read morePublished on 5 Oct. 2010 by Hugh Sedon