Author: V S Naipaul
Publisher: Picador India
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0330487108
A profound and moving and often humorous novel that evokes a colonial man's experience in the post-colonial world.
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 ostentatious white woman. But it the return to Isabella and his subsequent immersion in the toiling 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.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS
Ambitious and successful.. Extremely perceptive.
- The Times
The sweep of Naipaul's imagination, the brilliant fictional frame that expresses it, are in my view without equal today.
- New York Times Book Review
This new fiction was about colonial shame and fantasy, a book, in fact, about how the powerless lie about themselves, since it is their only resource. The book was called 'The Mimic Men'. And it was not about Mimics. It was about Colonial men mimicking the conditions of manhood, men who had grown to distrust everything about themselves.
- V S Naipaul, 'Two Worlds', The Nobel Lecture,7 December 2001