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THE MIMIC MEN by V.S. Naipaul


A Novel

by V.S. Naipaul

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1967
ISBN: 0375707174
Publisher: Macmillan

Naipaul's style is as distinctive as a fingerprint. At once direct of phrase and elusive of substance, it is exactly suited to the character he portrays. Singh, the narrator, is a colonial politician in exile from his native Caribbean island, Isabella. Twenty years earlier he had come to London as a student, returned to Isabella with an English wife. The recall of his childhood, his mother's family in Coca Cola, his father a leader of a movement in the hills and ultimately a guru; the years of his marriage which corresponded with increasing wealth from a development outside town; and, after Sandra leaves, the venture into politics, with the advocacy of nationalism, form a portrait of the life of Isabella as well as Singh. Singh, who needs "the guidance of other men's eyes," is throughout developing a character with which he is never at home, as a rich colonial, a celebrant, a politician. Perhaps only in exile can he find his place, his identity. A subtle, rather alien study of an emerging character and society in which the interest is demarcated by its subject, by an author who has received consistent critical consideration (A House for Mr. Biswas, etc.).