On an unnamed Caribbean Island, political tensions provoked by race and poverty are high. Jimmy Ahmed, a young mixed-race man, has been hailed as a revolutionary leader of the people. Roche, imprisoned for activities against South Africa's apartheid regime, and Jane, a feckless English rich girl wanting to be feel a part of something bigger, get sucked into the turmoil and world of Ahmed. But does anyone achieve anything by causing unrest? Do any of them really want freedom in a new society, or just the old society with themselves at the helm of power?
Written in the politically turbulent 1970s, Naipaul takes aim at the sacred cows and myths of revolutionaries-how so many of them "huff and puff," knowing that the house will never blow down. From the safest places come the bravest words.
Naipaul's bleak tale also takes aim at flaws in Marxist and revolutionary ideology-at the idea that one can predict or manipulate how the "revolution" will turn out. His characters are lost souls trying to navigate a post-colonial world where racism, classism, and conflicting ideals create a festering unrest that no one knows how to fix.
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by V.S. Naipaul
by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
by Kwame Alexander
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