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Literary In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul
#1  sun surfer 09-13-2020, 03:02 PM
'In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people--Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious compound wife -- are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin's Uganda. And the farther Naipaul's protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home. By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In A Free State is Naipaul at his best.'

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There are two phases of discussion. The first begins immediately and may contain conversations about anything pre-completion of the selection including reading progress, section thoughts, outside info, etc. The second begins on the 1st and also includes anything post-completion. These are recommended to help us discuss things in a similar timeframe but anyone can discuss any part or aspect at any time.


This is the MR Literary Club selection for September 2020. Everyone is welcome so feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time; the more the merrier!


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#2  Bookworm_Girl 09-13-2020, 04:34 PM
I haven’t read this article yet to avoid any spoilers. However, at a glance it looks like an interesting article.

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/02/20/rereading-v-s-naipauls-free-state/
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#3  sun surfer 09-14-2020, 12:09 PM
Thanks, B_G! You often find very interesting articles. I did glance at it too and will also wait to read it in case of spoilers.
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#4  Bookworm_Girl 10-01-2020, 01:57 AM
I have been reading this one for a week. Going a little slow because I am doing the audiobook. I might switch over to the ebook. I like the writing style, and the story line is engaging so far.
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#5  sun surfer 10-01-2020, 05:55 AM
I'm also listening to the audio. I'm a little behind where I usually am on our selections by the first but I'm enjoying the book. It certainly starts differently than I expected. I'd expected a book about Africa yet the first part is about various multinational passengers on a boat from Greece to Egypt, and then the second part is about people from India in Washington, D.C.

I'm guessing perhaps the storyline of the boat ride to Egypt will continue later and the travellers will continue from northeastern Africa farther down.
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#6  Bookworm_Girl 10-01-2020, 04:18 PM
I know! Based on the book plot description, I did briefly question am I reading the right book?
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#7  sun surfer 10-01-2020, 04:26 PM
Quote Bookworm_Girl
I know! Based on the book plot description, I did briefly question am I reading the right book?
Me too! Even as recently as when just writing my last post in this thread, it made me question myself enough to check the audiobook one more time before posting about it to make sure I had indeed got the right book.
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#8  AnotherCat 10-01-2020, 08:06 PM
I finished it a few days ago. As I have mentioned I had read it long ago but couldn't really recall much of it. However, reading it again when I got to Santosh's cupboard, and his adventures with betel nut, air travel, etc. those came straight back.

Since my original read of it I did a series of assignments in a country where betel nut chewing was rife. All the shop fronts, walls, in fact anything vertical was completely coated red with spat out chewed up betel nut juice. And mouths and tongues commonly stained red-brown. So my imagination was able to paint a better picture of Santosh and his betel nut adventure during this reading.
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#9  Bookworm_Girl 10-06-2020, 11:02 PM
I made it to Africa at last! I also bought the ebook so I can progress faster.
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#10  sun surfer 10-10-2020, 03:57 PM
I am close to finished and am really enjoying it. It turns out this book was basically three short stories followed by a novella.
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