Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 208
A Bend in the River is set in twentieth-century Africa in a country that is not named. It is the story of an Indian Muslim shopkeeper named Salim who buys a shop in Central Africa from his friend Nazruddin. During his journey, he comes across many challenges, including men who stop him and demand money. By the time he makes it to the town, he finds that the shop is in disarray. The townspeople had driven the Europeans out of the town and had since been struggling to get on their feet. Salim gets the store in order and develops relationships with the townspeople.
The town goes through many changes. At one time it seems to be doing well, and at another it time it goes through distress. Salim has a love affair with a woman named Yvette. Eventually, Salim decides to leave and goes to England. He decides he wants to stay in London and start from scratch. When he gets back, he finds that the store has been taken over. To save enough to move to London, he starts illegally trading ivory. He gets reported and is arrested. Salim flees on a ship which ends up getting attacked. The book ends with Salim escaping the attack.