chapter  7
25 Pages

FUTURE IMAGINARIES

V. S. Naipaul’s novel A Bend in the River takes place in the interior of Africa in a remote town that is trapped in merciless flux between primitive and modern ways of life. A powerful river runs alongside the town, serving as an undeniable symbol of movement (if not progress) and profound interconnection with the outside world. Yet, propitiously located where the river bends, the town is also hidden from sight, and there is great fear that the benefits of modernization will pass inhabitants by or will enmesh them in violence beyond their control or understanding. It is a place, as the narrator says, where one could believe that “the future had come and gone,” leaving only ruins and ruined hopes in its wake.