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The Mimic Men: A Novel Paperback – August 14, 2001
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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“Ambitious and successful.”–The Times (London)
From the Inside Flap
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.
Top Customer Reviews
By graduation, Ranjit Singh gladly leaves the country to study in London. But his direction is muddled, he wanders, and marries a woman who likes to take charge. They decide to return to Isabella, but on docking he realizes why he left. Making the best of it, he and his wife become wealthy landlords, hang out with an international group, become incredibly bored, and Sandra leaves him. Adrift, Ranjit and a childhood friend, Hok Browne, who also has returned from London, cook up a very ambitious plan to nationalize Isabella. One wonders if decision making is Ranjit's best suit.
All this summary is not really spoiler as the memoirs are not chronological and Singe alludes to various points of his life repeatedly in his narrative.
I started out really liking this book but began to grow tired of the relative lack of drama. Interesting things happen to Singe, but because they are not presented so much as described (there is very little dialogue, for example), the inherent interest of the situations is somewhat diluted. Not that such an approach can’t work: it works brilliantly in, say, Catcher in the Rye or Lolita, but in those books, the narrator is much more compelling than Singe, who is no Holden Caulfield or Humbert Humbert by a long shot.
Nor does it help that the most interesting part of Singe’s life—his government tenure—is given fairly short shrift toward the end of the book.
I absolutely loved Naipaul’s A House for Mr. Biswas, which came out a few years before Mimic Men, but there the tone was more tragi-comic than in the later book, and perhaps that’s what’s missing here. In any case, if you want to read early Naipaul, Mr. Biswas is the one to go with, not Mimic Men.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a confirmed Naipaul fan, but I was not overly impressed with the "Mimic Men". There seems to be 3 separate themes here that are better expressed in other novels by Naipaul. Read morePublished on October 12, 2009 by Butterfly Man
One of the most boring and unattractive books I have ever read. What an unfortunate idea to give a running commentary on the events rather than let the reader enjoy the events... Read morePublished on December 21, 2003
This was the first book I read by V.S. Naipaul, and it is by far my favorite of his so far. Although I did not initially think that a book dealing with the post-colonial struggle... Read morePublished on September 22, 2003 by C. Lu
Nobel-prize winning Naipaul has written in The Mimic Men a wonderful discourse on the post-colonial search for indentity. Read morePublished on March 30, 2003
This is one of Naipaul's earlier novels and in it he addresses many of the same themes that occupy his latter, and masterful "A Place in the World". Read morePublished on October 22, 2001 by Donal A. O'Neill