The Mimic Men by V. S. Naipaul
'A Tolstoyan spirit... The so-called thrid World has produced no more brilliant literary artist' John Updike, New Yorker
Born of Indian heritage, raised in the British-dependent Caribbean island of Isabella, and educated in England, forty-year-old Ralph Singh has spent a lifetime struggling against the torment of cultural displacement. Now in exile from his native country, he has taken up residence at a quaint hotel in a London suburb, where he is writing his memoirs in an attempt to impose order on a chaotic existence. His memories lead him to recognize the cultural paradoxes and tainted fantasies of his colonial childhood and later life: his attempts to fit in at school, his short-lived marriage to an ostenatious white woman. But it is the return of Isabella and his subsequent immersion in the roiling political atmosphere of a newly self-governing nation - every kind of racial fantasy taking wing - that ultimately provide Singh with the necessary insight to discover the crux of his disillusionment.
'Ambitious and successful... Extremely perceptive' The Times
'The sweep of Naipaul's imagination, the brilliant fictional frame that expresses it, are in my view eithout equal today'
New York Times Book Review