In a Free State

In a Free State 1

A Novel with Two Supporting Narratives

by V. S. Naipaul

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 19/08/2011

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Shortlisted for the 50th Anniversary Golden Man Booker Prize

V.S. Naipaul's Booker Prize-winning novel set in an African state.

The theme is displacement, the yearning for the good place in someone else's land, the attendant heartache. In A Free State tells first of an Indian servant in Washington, then of an Asian West Indian in London who is in jail for murder. Then the story moves to Africa, to a fictional country something like Uganda or Rwanda. Its two main characters are English. They once found Africa liberating, but now it has gone sour on them.

At a time of tribal conflict they have to make the long drive to the safety of their compound. In the background, the threat of violence looms. The voices in this novel are breathtakingly vivid, while the characters are portrayed with an intelligence and sensitivity that is rarely seen in contemporary writing. Dennis Potter, in The Times, described the book as one of such lucid complexity and such genuine insight, so deft and deep, that it somehow manages to agitate, charm, amuse and excuse the reader all at the same pitch of experience.

This is one of V. S. Naipaul's greatest novels, hard but full of pity.

ISBN:
9780330524803
9780330524803
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
19-08-2011
Publisher:
Pan Macmillan
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Pages:
256
Dimensions (mm):
197x130x12mm
Weight:
0.18kg
V. S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He came to England on a scholarship in 1950. He spent four years at University College, Oxford, and began to write, in London, in 1954. He pursued no other profession. His novels include A House for Mr Biswas, The Mimic Men, Guerrillas, A Bend in the River, and The Enigma of Arrival.

In 1971 he was awarded the Booker Prize for In a Free State. His works of nonfiction, equally acclaimed, include Among the Believers, Beyond Belief, The Masque of Africa, and a trio of books about India: An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization and India: A Million Mutinies Now.

In 1990, V.S. Naipaul received a knighthood for services to literature; in 1993, he was the first recipient of the David Cohen British Literature Prize. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He lived with his wife Nadira and cat Augustus in Wiltshire, and died in 2018.

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  • In a Free State

    by on

    Quality fleflection on the forces that shape and drive human behavior
    are we ever really free or it it just a temporary state of perceived consciousness