A profound novel of cultural displacement, The Mimic Men masterfully evokes a colonial man's experience in a postcolonial world. Born of Indian heritage and raised on a British-dependent Caribbean island, Ralph Singh has retired to suburban London, writing his memoirs as a means to impose order on a chaotic existence. His memories lead him to recognize the paradox of his childhood during which he secretly fantasized about a heroic India, yet changed his name from Ranjit Kripalsingh. As he assesses his short-lived marriage to an ostentatious white woman, Singh realizes what has kept him from becoming a proper Englishman. But it is the return home and his subsequent immersion in the roiling political atmosphere of a newly self-governed nation that ultimately provide Singh with the necessary insight to discover the crux of his disillusionment.
About the Author
V. S. Naipaul's new novel, Half a Life, will be published by Knopf in fall 2001. Naipaul lives in Wiltshire, England.
“A Tolstoyan spirit.... The so-called Third World has produced no more brilliant literary artist.”–John Updike, The New Yorker