Detailed view for the Book: Half a Life


Half a Life





# Date Publisher Binding Cover
1 2001-00-00 Picador  

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With astonishing economy of language and command of both the intimately personal and the sweepingly political, Naipaul tells a psychologically complex yet rapidly paced tale of a father and son who fail to fully engage with life. The tale begins in India in the 1930s when, in an isolated and insincere gesture of solidarity with Mahatma Gandhi, a young Brahman defies tradition by getting involved with a woman of a much lower caste (a woman he finds repulsive). Years later their son, Willie, attends college in London, where he discovers how easy it is to conceal the truth about his mixed heritage and his parents" miserable marriage. But Willie has no reliable sense of self. He drifts from one vague friendship to another, meets with small success as a writer, and then marries the first woman who seems to care for him and moves to her family estate in a Portuguese colony in Africa. Through Willie"s observant -- if uninformed -- eyes, Naipaul examines the politics of sex, race, and class in bohemian 1950s Africa. Passive and detached, Willie slowly realizes that every place has a caste system and that without coming to terms with his own heritage, he will never fit in anywhere.

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