Half a life: A Novel

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One of the finest living writers in the English language, V. S. Naipaul gives us a tale as wholly un- expected as it is affecting, his first novel since the exultantly acclaimed A Way in the World, published seven years ago. Half a Life is the story of Willie Chandran, whose father, heeding the call of Mahatma Gandhi, turned his back on his brahmin heritage and married a woman of low caste--a disastrous union he would live to regret, as he would the children that issued from it. When Willie reaches manhood, his flight from the travails of his mixed birth takes him from India to London, where, in the shabby haunts of immigrants and literary bohemians of the 1950s, he contrives a new identity. This is what happens as he tries to defeat self-doubt in sexual adventures and in the struggle to become a writer--strivings that bring him to the brink of exhaustion, from which he is rescued, to his amazement, only by the love of a good woman. And this is what happens when he returns with her--carried along, really--to her home in Africa, to live, until the last doomed days of colonialism, yet another life not his own. In a luminous narrative that takes us across three continents, Naipaul explores his great theme of inheritance with an intimacy and directness unsurpassed in his extraordinary body of work. And even as he lays bare the bitter comical ironies of assumed identities, he gives us a poignant spectacle of the enervation peculiar to a borrowed life. In one man's determined refusal of what he has been given to be, Naipaul reveals the way of all our experience. As Willie comes to see, "Everything goes on a bias. The world should stop, but it goes on." A masterpiece of economy and emotional nuance, Half a Life is an indelible feat of the imagination.
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ISBN:
9780375407376
9780307556561
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 23bc17d6-7862-e32c-14db-3ede31858acd
Grouping Title half a life
Grouping Author naipaul v s
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2018-09-19 23:18:15PM
Last Indexed 2018-09-20 00:11:36AM

Solr Details

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author V. S. Naipaul
author_display Naipaul, V. S
available_at_catalog Green Hills, Green Hills Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Green Hills - Adult Fiction, Main Library - Adult Fiction
display_description

In a narrative that moves with dreamlike swiftness from India to England to Africa, Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul has produced his finest novel to date, a bleakly resonant study of the fraudulent bargains that make up an identity.

The son of a Brahmin ascetic and his lower-caste wife, Willie Chandran grows up sensing the hollowness at the core of his father's self-denial and vowing to live more authentically. That search takes him to the immigrant and literary bohemias of 1950s London, to a facile and unsatisfying career as a writer, and at last to a decaying Portugese colony in East Africa, where he finds a happiness he will then be compelled to betray. Brilliantly orchestrated, at once elegiac and devastating in its portraits of colonial grandeur and pretension, Half a Life represents the pinnacle of Naipaul's career.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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id 23bc17d6-7862-e32c-14db-3ede31858acd
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literary_form Fiction
literary_form_full Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog Fiction Naipaul
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Green Hills, Green Hills Kids, Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780375407376
publishDate 2001, 2009
record_details ils:CARL0000170319|Book|Books|1st American ed.|English|Knopf,|2001.|211 p. ; 22 cm., overdrive:bacd0f3d-8eb3-4f7d-be58-12df1b6c5a1c|eBook|eBook||English|Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|2009|
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series Vintage International
series_with_volume Vintage International|
subject_facet Africa -- Fiction, Authors -- Fiction, Colonies -- Fiction, East Indians -- England -- Fiction, London (England) -- Fiction, Portugal -- Colonies -- Africa -- Fiction
title_display Half a life
title_full Half a Life A Novel, Half a life / V.S. Naipaul
title_short Half a life
title_sub A Novel
topic_facet Authors, Colonies, East Indians, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literature