Literary Fiction

Half A Life by V. S. Naipaul

I’ve always liked the fiction of V. S. Naipaul, and looked forward to reading “Half A Life.” The novel follows Willie Chandran as he moves from India, to England, to Portuguese East Africa. Willie is the child of a mixed marriage—a Brahmin, of the highest caste, who has a relationship with an untouchable. But the book features a number of different characters who are “half”: half white, half English, half Jamaican, half Portuguese, half African. Indeed, the title very appropriately describes the obstacles individuals born of neither one race, class, or caste or another. It’s a bit heavy slogging at times, and the book just stopped, rather than ended. Still, anything by Naipaul is worth reading, and this was no exception.


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