Book Reviews of Half a Life

Half a Life
Half a Life
Author: V.S. Naipaul
ISBN-13: 9780375407376
ISBN-10: 0375407375
Publication Date: 10/16/2001
Pages: 224
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 9 ratings
Publisher: Knopf
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

4 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Half a Life on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
You can tell the author is male.

At halfway point in the book, the hero runs off to another country with a woman, staying on her luxury estate in Africa for 20 years. It is not until the closing pages of the book that the author clarifies whether or not they married. Children (of this couple) are not mentioned, though there is a large estate to inherit. A woman would have provided these details.

The starting point of the book is very interesting - a high caste Hindu male tells his parents he has married a very low caste woman - this is done as a form of rebellion. They never really get married, which is why the details of their son's marriage are so important.

Mr. Naipaul has written a stripped down, depressive book full of existential angst. In real life, people set goals and challenges for themselves, and take please in meeting them. In this book, characters are tiny wisps of dust, whose lives are changed by momentary decisions or the threads of fate.

Spoiler: the last line leaves absolutely everything unresolved.
reviewed Half a Life on + 813 more book reviews
This is an interesting character study of an Indian student in post-war London as he breaks from his parents past and the caste system. There are no extraordinary events in the first two parts of the book, unless you consider that the protagonist only beds down his friends partners. Not exciting, but somehow the book moves right along. Until the third and final part. He marries and moves to a plantation in Portuguese East Africacountry unnamed but in constant upheaval from guerilla groups. Guess where? Why cant he name it? He names every other location. Anyway, this is where I bog down. The story drones on and on and nearly loses me. I cant wait for the end. Maybe I should have skipped to the last few pages, but Im a die-hard. You wont miss anything if you omit this from your reading list.
reviewed Half a Life on + 366 more book reviews
In this 2001 novel Naipul takes his main character from India to London to Africa to Europe. The fascinating twists and turns in a man's life.
reviewed Half a Life on + 21 more book reviews
A wonderful book; subtle but honest.