Half a Life Leaves Much to be Desired

Sorry it has been so long – haven’t had much time for reading. Nor did I have much time for VS Naipaul’s Half a Life. I bought the book on a whim, as it had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I was looking for something different and thought I might discover a new author to love.

This book reinforces the theory that I cannot abide books that lack of sense of purpose – much like Dicken’s said of writing, all good books should have some sense of social commentary – they should make some kind of statement. Half a Life left me largely unsatisfied. It surrounds a young Indian man, who hates his simple life at home, and goes abroad to England to find the kind of lilfestyle he is looking for. Then he goes to Africa – doesn’t find it there either. I kept expecting him to come to some sort of realisation – but he never really does. Some of the other characters do – if you are interested in the book it has the most fascinating final line that does leave me asking questions about other characters in the novel – but ultimately this piece is disappointing. It never left me waiting for another opportunity to read it.

I’m now onto Andrew McGahan’s Underground – which I already like, and not just because Andrew Bolt was not a fan. (Had the shock of my life when I realised we actually agreed on something – Borat, urgghhhh.) Underground is immediately more engaging than Half a Life. It sends up the increasingly anti-terrorist culture of the world and takes it to the extreme – in a daringly short amount of time. Fun without being frivolous. The writing is good too – and if you want another good read, get into McGahan’s The White Earth – a gothic Australian outback tales that also delves into politics. I loved – and you remember what I wrote about Australian Literature. Usually not a fan. It’s nice to make an exception though. Still, more on this, soon.

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