What a joy it is to be reading V S Naipaul’s In a Free State after the tedium of Storey’s Saville. Naipaul’s narrative gripped me from the first paragraph and hasn’t disappointed since (I’m now on page 90). He makes Africa come alive and I remember from visits years ago how quickly dirt track roads turn into red mud skid paths after torrents of rain and how, driving through a terrain apparently devoid of human life, you suddenly see groups of people emerge from nowhere to sit at the side of the road.
I’ve not read much of Naipaul’s other work. I struggled through A Bend in the River but failed to make much progress with A House for Mr Biswas. Maybe In a Free State will give me the impetus to give him another go.