V. S. Naipaul - Author

About the Author

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River and most recently The Masque of Africa, and a collection of correspondence, Letters Between a Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Featured books by V. S. Naipaul

The Masque of Africa Glimpses of African Belief

The Masque of Africa Glimpses of African Belief

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

Moving beyond travelogue, The Masque of Africa considers the effects of belief (in indigenous animisms, the foreign religions of Christianity and Islam, the cults of leaders and mythical history) upon the progress of African civilization. Beginning in Uganda, at the centre of the continent, Naipaul's journey takes in Ghana and Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Gabon, and ends, as the country does, in South Africa. Focusing upon the theme of belief - though sometimes the political or economical realities are so overwhelming that they have to be taken into account - Naipaul examines the fragile but enduring quality of the old world of magic. To witness the ubiquity of such ancient ritual, to be given some idea of its power, was to be taken far back to the beginning of things. To reach that beginning was the purpose of this book.

Other books by V. S. Naipaul

In a Free State

In a Free State

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: eBook Release Date: 08/05/2018

No writer has rendered our boundaryless, postcolonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.On a road trip through Africa, two English people-Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys; and Linda, a supercilious "e;compound wife"e;-are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin's Uganda. And the farther Naipaul's protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home.By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In a Free State is Naipaul at his best.

India: Essays

India: Essays

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: eBook Release Date: 25/01/2018

Between 1962 and 2006, V. S. Naipaul wrote six essays about India, some of his finest pieces of reflection and reportage. Approaching India through the residue of Indian culture and the scattered memories of nineteenth-century emigrants, eventually leading to a special understanding of Mahatma Gandhi, Naipaul offers an exceptional and sustained meditation on the country that was never his.These are essays, full of gentleness, humour and feeling, that take us into the mind of a great writer. 'Peerless ... the human encounters are described minutely, superbly ... there is a candour to his writing, a constant precision at its heart' - Sunday Times'Sceptical, enquiring, sharply observant and unfailingly stylish' - Guardian'The coolest literary eye and most lucid prose we have' - New York Times Book Review

A House for Mr Biswas

A House for Mr Biswas

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 30/09/2017

A House for Mr Biswas, by Nobel and Booker Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul, is a powerful novel about one man's struggle for identity and belonging. Born into poverty, then trapped in the shackles of charity and gratitude, Mr Biswas longs for a house he can call his own. He begrudges his wife and her wealthy family, upon whom he is dependent. Finding himself a mere accessory on their estate, his constant rebellion is motivated by the one thing that can symbolise his independence. The book is striking in its lush and sensual descriptions of Trinidad and was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

India Picador Classic

India Picador Classic

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/05/2017

With an introduction from Paul Theroux V.S. Naipaul first visited India in 1962 at twenty-nine. His most recent visit was in 2015 at eighty-two. The intervening years and visits sparked by an inquisitiveness about a country he had never seen but had been a dream of his since childhood have resulted in three books: India: An Area of Darkness, A Wounded Civilization and A Million Mutinies Now. India is the collection of all three, introduced by fellow traveller and writer Paul Theroux. An Area of Darkness is V. S. Naipaul's semi-autobiographical account - at once painful and hilarious, but always thoughtful and considered - of his first visit to India, the land of his forebears. From the moment of his inauspicious arrival he experienced a cultural estrangement from the subcontinent. India was land of myths, an area of darkness closing up behind him as he travelled. What emerged was a masterful work of literature that provides a revelation both of India and of himself: a displaced person who paradoxically possesses a stronger sense of place than almost anyone. India: A Wounded Civilization casts a more analytical eye than before over Indian attitudes, while recapitulating and further probing the feelings aroused in him by this vast, mysterious, and agonized country. A work of fierce candour and precision, it is also a generous description of one man's complicated relationship with the country of his ancestors. India: A Million Mutinies Now is the fascinating account of Naipaul's return journey to India and offers a kaleidoscopic, layered travelogue, encompassing a wide collage of religions, castes, and classes at a time when the percolating ideas of freedom threatened to shake loose the old ways. The brilliance of the book lies in Naipaul's approach to a shifting, changing land from a variety of perspectives. India: A Million Mutinies Now is a truly perceptive work whose insights continue to inform travellers of all generations to India.

The Mimic Men

The Mimic Men

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 31/03/2017

Former government minister Ralph Singh is the perpetual outsider: displaced, disillusioned and now living in exile, Ralph reflects on his earlier life and the searing effects of colonialism. Ralph's constant estrangement sees him ever attempting to fit into various communities, only to find home in more transient spaces. Born on the colonial island of Isabella, he is one of West India's many 'Mimic Men'. Booker and Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul's sixth novel is a brutal and perceptive commentary on the postcolonial condition of the colonial man.

Indian Trilogy

Indian Trilogy

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: eBook Release Date: 17/11/2016

AN AREA OF DARKNESS'Brilliant ... tender, lyrical, explosive' ObserverV.S. Naipaul was twenty-nine when he first visited India. This is his semi-autobiographical account-at once painful and hilarious, but always thoughtful and considered-a revelation both of the country and of himself.INDIA: A WOUNDED CIVILIZATION'A devastating work, but proof that a novelist of Naipaul's stature can often define problems quicker and more effectively than a team of economists and other experts' The TimesPrompted by the Emergency of 1975, Naipaul casts a more analytical eye, convinced that India, wounded by a thousand years of foreign rule, has not yet found an ideology of regeneration.INDIA: A MILLION MUTINIES NOW'Indispensable for anyone who wants seriously to come to grips with the experience of India' New York Times Book ReviewIt is twenty-six years since Naipaul's first trip to India. Taking an anti-clockwise journey around the metropolises-including Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Delhi-he focuses on the country's development since Independence. The author recedes, allowing Indians to tell the stories, and a dynamic oral history of the country emerges.

A House For Mr Biswas

A House For Mr Biswas

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/02/2016

With an introduction by Teju Cole He was struck again and again by the wonder of being in his own house, the audacity of it: to walk in through his own front gate, to bar entry to whoever he wished, to close his doors and windows every night. Mr. Biswas has been told since the day of his birth that misfortune will follow him - and so it has. Meaning only to avoid punishment, he causes the death of his father and the dissolution of his family. Wanting simply to flirt with a beautiful woman, he ends up marrying her, and reluctantly relying on her domineering family for support. But in spite of endless setbacks, Mr. Biswas is determined to achieve independence, and so he begins his gruelling struggle to buy a home of his own. A House for Mr Biswas is Nobel Prize in Literature winner V. S. Naipaul's unforgettable masterpiece. Heart-rending and darkly comic, it has been hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels, a classic that evokes a man's quest for autonomy against the backdrop of post-colonial Trinidad. 'A work of great comic power qualified with firm and unsentimental compassion' Anthony Burgess 'A marvellous prose epic that matches the best nineteenth-century novels' Newsweek

The Nightwatchman's Occurrence Book and Other Comic Inventions

The Nightwatchman's Occurrence Book and Other Comic Inventions

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2011

WITH A NEW PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR V.S. Naipaul's legendary command of broad comedy and acute social observation is on abundant display in these classic works of fiction - two novels and a collection of stories - that capture the rhythms of life in the Caribbean and England with impressive subtlety and humour. The Suffrage of Elvira is Naipaul's hilarious take on an electoral campaign in the back country of Trinidad, where the candidates' tactics include blatant vote-buying and supernatural sabotage. The eponymous protagonist of Mr Stone and the Knights Companion is an ageing Englishman of ponderously regular habits whose life is thrown into upheaval by a sudden marriage and an unanticipated professional advancement. And the stories in A Flag on the Island take us from a Chinese bakery in Trinidad - whose black proprietor faces bankruptcy until he takes a Chinese name - to a rooming house in London, where the genteel landlady plays a nasty Darwinian game with her budgerigars. Unfailingly stylish, filled with intelligence and feeling, here is the work of a writer who can do just about anything that can be done with language. `As delightful as anything Naipaul has written' New York Review of Books `V.S. Naipaul has a substantial claim as a comic writer . . . This humour, conducted throughout with the utmost stylistic quietude, is completely original' Kingsley Amis, Spectator

In a Free State

In a Free State

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2011

Winner of the Booker Prize 1971 and nominated for the Golden Man Booker Prize in 2018. In a Free State tells the story first of an Indian servant in Washington, who becomes an American citizen but feels he has ceased to be a part of the flow. Then of a disturbed Asian West Indian in London who, in jail for murder, has never really known where he is. Then the central novel moves to Africa, to a fictional country somewhere like Uganda or Rwanda. The novel's central characters once found Africa liberating, but now it has gone sour on them. The land is no longer safe, and at a time of tribal conflict they have to make the long drive to the safety of their compound. At the end of this drive - the narrative tight, wonderfully constructed, the formal and precise language always instilled with violence and rage - we know everything about the English characters, the African country and the Idi Amin-like future awaiting it. This is one of V. S. Naipaul's greatest novels, hard but full of pity. This is a story about displacement, the yearning for the good place in someone else's land and the attendant heartache.

Miguel Street

Miguel Street

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2011

Miguel Street, V. S. Naipaul's first written work of fiction, is set in a derelict corner of Port of Spain, Trinidad, during World War Two and is narrated by an unnamed, precociously observant neighbourhood boy. We are introduced to a galaxy of characters, from Popo the carpenter, who neglects his livelihood to build `the wild thing without a name', to Man-man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion, and the dreaded Big-Foot, the bully with glass tear ducts. As well as the lovely Mrs Hereira, in thrall to her monstrous husband. V. S. Naipaul writes with prescient wisdom and crackling wit about the lives and legends that make up Miguel Street: a living theatre, a world in microcosm, a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells - all seen through the eyes of a fatherless boy. The language, the idioms and the observations are priceless and timeless and Miguel Street overflows with life on every page. This is an astonishing novel about hope, despair, poverty and laughter; and an enchanting and exuberant tribute to V. S. Naipaul's childhood home.

Guerrillas

Guerrillas

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2011

Set on a troubled Caribbean island - where Asians, Africans, Americans and former British colonials co-exist in a state of suppressed hysteria - Guerrillas is a novel of colonialism and revolution. A white man arrives with his mistress, an Englishwoman influenced by fantasies of native power and sexuality, unaware of the consequences of her actions. Together with a leader of the `revolution', they act out a gripping drama of death, sexual violence and spiritual impotence. Guerrillas depicts a convulsion in public life, and ends in private violence. The novel comes with extraordinary force from the centre of a profound moral awareness of the world's plight. `Impeccable . . . Guerrillas seems to me Naipaul's Heart of Darkness: a brilliant artist's anatomy of emptiness, and of despair' Observer

In a Free State

In a Free State

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2011

`In a Free State was conceived in 1969 as a sequence about displacement. There was to be a central novel, set in Africa, with shorter surrounding matter from other places. The shorter pieces from these varied places were intended to throw a universal light on the African material. But then, as the years passed and the world changed, and I felt myself less of an oddity as a writer, I grew to feel that the central novel was muffled and diminished by the surrounding material and I began to think that the novel should be published on its own. This is what, many years after its first publication, my publisher is doing in this edition.' V. S. Naipaul. In a Free State is set in Africa, in a place like Uganda or Rwanda, and its two main characters are English. They had once found liberation in Africa. But now Africa is going sour on them. The land is no longer safe, and at a time of tribal conflict they have to make a long drive to the safety of their compound. At the end of this drive - the narrative tight, wonderfully constructed, the formal and precise language always instilled with violence and rage - we know everything about the English characters, the African country, and the Idi Amin-like future awaiting it. This is one of V. S. Naipaul's greatest novels, hard but full of pity. It won the Booker Prize, in its original edition, in 1971.

The Mystic Masseur

The Mystic Masseur

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2011

The Mystic Masseur, V. S. Naipaul's first published novel, is the story of the rise and rise of Ganesh, from failed primary school teacher and struggling masseur to author, revered mystic and MBE - a journey equally memorable for its hilarity as its bewildering success. An unforgettable cast of characters witness this meteoric ascent: Ganesh's father-in-law, Ramlogan, whose shop gave the impression that `every morning someone went over everything in it - scales, Ramlogan, and all - with a greased rag'; his aunt, the Great Belcher, with her troubling wind; his wife Leela, and her fondness for putting a punctuation mark after every word. Soon, Ganesh's small hut is filled with books (1,500, as his wife will attest), and his trousers and shirt disappear to be replaced by more suitable attire for a proper mystic. As `The Woman Who Couldn't Eat' and `Lover Boy', the man who fell in love with his bicycle, line up to be cured, it looks like the mystic masseur is surely destined for greatness. In one of the author's finest comic creations we see the immense sensitivity, humour and endlessly inventive imagination that have become the hallmarks of V. S. Naipaul's genius.

Letters Between a Father and Son

Letters Between a Father and Son

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

In 1950, V. S. Naipaul travelled from Trinidad to England to take up a place at Oxford University. Over the next few years, letters passed back and forth between Naipaul and his family - particularly his beloved father Seepersad, but also his mother and siblings. The result is a fascinating chronicle of Naipaul's time at university; the love of writing that he shared with his father and their mutual nurturing of literary ambition; the triumphs and depressions of Oxford life; and the travails of his family back at home. This engrossing collection continues into the early years of V. S. Naipaul's literary career, touching time and again on the craft of writing, and revealing the relationships and experiences that formed and influenced one of the greatest and most enigmatic literary figures of our age. `Rare and precious . . . if any modern writer was going to breathe a last gasp into the epistolary tradition, it was always likely to be V. S. Naipaul' New Statesman `Remarkable' Literary Review `A very moving book' James Wood, London Review of Books `A fascinating psychological narrative' The Times

A Turn in the South

A Turn in the South

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

A Turn in the South is a reflective journey by V. S. Naipaul in the late 1980s through the American South. Naipaul writes of his encounters with politicians, rednecks, farmers, writers and ordinary men and women, both black and white, with the insight and originality we expect from one of our best travel writers. Fascinating and poetic, this is a remarkable book on race, culture and country. `Naipaul's writing is supple and fluid, meticulously crafted, adventurous and quick to surprise. And, as usual, there's the freshness and originality of his way of looking at things' Sunday Times `Naipaul writes as if a modern oracle has chosen to speak through him. It is a tissue of brilliantly recorded hearsay, of intense listening by a man with a remarkable ear' New York Times Review of Books `This is a journey below the Mason-Dixon line into a society riven by too many defeats; the broken cause of the old Confederacy, and the frustrated anger of Southern blacks whose power is circumscribed . . . It is the best thing outside fiction that I have read on the Old South pregnant with the new since W. J. Cash's The Mind of the South published over fifty years ago' Sunday Telegraph

The Writer and the World Essays

The Writer and the World Essays

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

During forty years of travel, V. S. Naipaul has created a wide-ranging body of work, an exceptional and sustained meditation on our world. Now his finest pieces of reflection and reportage - many of which have been unavailable for some time - are collected in one volume. With an abiding faith in modernity balanced by a sense of wonder about the past, Naipaul has explored an astonishing variety of societies and peoples through the prism of his experience. Whether writing about Indian mutinies and despair, Mobutu's mad reign in Zaire, or the New York mayoral elections, he demonstrates time and again that no one has a shrewder intuition of the ways in which the world works. Infused with a deeply felt humanism, The Writer and the World attests powerfully not only to Naipaul's status as the great English prose stylist of our time but also to his keen, often prophetic, understanding. `All [of these essays] are worth reading (and rereading), both for the contemporary and historical information and insight they artfully impart and for what they tell us about a uniquely complex writer' Spectator `How few writers there are, if any, who share his sense of mission and moral authority, who have his willingness to learn and to travel and his miraculous gift of language.' Observer

The Middle Passage Impressions of five colonial societies

The Middle Passage Impressions of five colonial societies

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

In 1960, Dr Eric Williams, the first Prime Minister of independent Trinidad, invited V. S. Naipaul to revisit his native country and record his impressions. In this classic of modern travel writing he created a deft and remarkably prescient portrait of Trinidad and the Caribbean societies of four adjacent countries, Guyana, Surinam, Martinique and Jamaica. Haunted by the legacies of slavery and colonialism, and so thoroughly defined by the norms of Empire that it can scarcely comprehend its end, Naipaul catches this poor, topsy-turvy world at a critical moment, a time when racial and political assertion had yet to catch up - a perfect subject for the acute understanding and dazzling prose of this great writer. `Naipaul travels with the artist's eye and ear and his observations are sharply discerning.' Evelyn Waugh `Belongs in the same category of travel writing as Lawrence's books on Italy, Greene's on West Africa and Pritchett's on Spain' New Statesman `Where earlier travellers enthused or recoiled, Mr Naipaul explains. His tone is critical but humane, and he tempers his inevitable indignation with an admirable sense of comedy.' Observer `Dazzling reportorial skills and a sharp historical mind' New York Times Book Review

A Writer's People Ways of Looking and Feeling

A Writer's People Ways of Looking and Feeling

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

For the `serious traveller', one who is fully engaged with the world, there can be no single view. Our author's purpose, then, `is not literary criticism or biography', but only to set out the writing and ways of seeing to which he was exposed. So here is colonial Trinidad (the early Derek Walcott and Naipaul's own father); the culture of school (Flaubert and the classical world); England, where with the help of friends the writer seeks to make his way; and, inevitably for a colonial Indian, there is India, to be approached through the residue of Indian culture and the scattered memories of nineteenth-century immigrants, leading to a special understanding of Mahatma Gandhi. Part meditation, part remembrance, A Writer's People is a privileged insight, full of gentleness, humour and feeling, into the mind of one of our greatest writers. `Essential reading . . . it offers the insights and observations - on literature, history and cultural sensibility - of an honest and truly global thinker' Evening Standard `The greatest writer now living in Britain. His courage in seeing and telling the truth represents a level of high seriousness that has all but vanished' Sunday Times `Naipaul has a sharp visual sense . . . And then there is his chiselled prose, elegant and economical: who, now living, writes as well as he?' Financial Times

The Masque of Africa Glimpses of African Belief

The Masque of Africa Glimpses of African Belief

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

Moving beyond travelogue, The Masque of Africa considers the effects of belief (in indigenous animisms, the foreign religions of Christianity and Islam, the cults of leaders and mythical history) upon the progress of African civilization. Beginning in Uganda, at the centre of the continent, Naipaul's journey takes in Ghana and Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Gabon, and ends, as the country does, in South Africa. Focusing upon the theme of belief - though sometimes the political or economical realities are so overwhelming that they have to be taken into account - Naipaul examines the fragile but enduring quality of the old world of magic. To witness the ubiquity of such ancient ritual, to be given some idea of its power, was to be taken far back to the beginning of things. To reach that beginning was the purpose of this book.

Literary Occasions Essays

Literary Occasions Essays

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2011

In these eleven extended pieces V. S. Naipaul charts more than half a century of personal enquiry into the mysteries of the written word and of fiction in particular. Here are his boyhood experiences of reading books and his first youthful efforts at writing them; the evolution of his ideas about the extent to which individual cultures shape identities and influence literary forms; observations on Conrad, his literary forebear; the moving preface he wrote to the only book his father ever published; and his reflections on his career, ending with his celebrated Nobel lecture, `Two Worlds'. A remarkable companion piece to The Writer and the World, Naipaul's previous volume of highly acclaimed essays, Literary Occasions is a stirring contribution to the fading art of the critic, and a revelation of a life in letters. `An engaging guide to the writing life, full of interest for the would-be novelist' Independent `He is an exceptionally good and perceptive critic - a few passages on Dickens are worth whole books by others - and when he addresses the art of fiction he not only writes beautifully (as always) but with complete humility' New Statesman `The writing itself is a wonder of clarity, complex ideas given shape in simple English, and achieving that most difficult of tasks - having writer and reader seem simultaneously to be making the same journey' New York Times Book Review

Half a Life

Half a Life

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2011

In Half a Life we are introduced to the compelling figure of Willie Chandran. Springing from the unhappy union of a low-caste mother and a father constantly at odds with life, Willie is naively eager to find something that will place him both in and apart from the world. Drawn to England, and to the immigrant and bohemian communities of post-war London, it is only in his first experience of love that he finally senses the possibility of fulfilment. In its humorous and sensitive vision of the half-lives quietly lived out at the centre of our world, V.S. Naipaul's graceful novel brings its own unique illumination to essential aspects of our shared history. `The best novel I have read this year . . . the prose is crystalline and seductively so - you hardly realize that you are consuming a work of genius until you are plunged deep into a dramatic story which stretches across three continents' Antonia Fraser, Irish Times `Brilliant . . . Writing with a degree of wit and subtlety beyond the grasp of most writers, Naipaul has built a bleak world of discomfort and yearning from which, paradoxically, the reader will not want to escape' Daily Mail `Parts are as sly and funny as anything Naipaul has written. Nobody who enjoys seeing English beautifully controlled should miss this novel' John Carey, Sunday Times

A House For Mr Biswas

A House For Mr Biswas

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2011

`A work of great comic power qualified with firm and unsentimental compassion' Anthony Burgess A House for Mr Biswas is V. S. Naipaul's unforgettable fourth book and the early masterpiece of his brilliant career. Born the `wrong way' and thrust into a world that greeted him with little more than a bad omen, Mohun Biswas has spent his forty-six years of life striving for independence. But his determined efforts have met only with calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. He marries into the domineering Tulsi family, on whom he becomes indignantly dependent, but rebels and takes on a succession of occupations in an arduous struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. Heartrending and darkly comic, A House for Mr Biswas has been hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels and this triumph of resilience, persistence and dignity masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against the backdrop of post-colonial Trinidad. `A marvellous prose epic that matches the best nineteenth-century novels' Newsweek

The Enigma of Arrival A Novel in Five Sections

The Enigma of Arrival A Novel in Five Sections

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2011

Taking its title from the strangely frozen picture by the surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of Arrival tells the story of a young Indian from the Caribbean arriving in post-imperial England and consciously, over many years, finding himself as a writer. It is the story of a journey, from one place to another, from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England, and from one state of mind to another, and is perhaps Naipaul's most autobiographical work. Yet alongside this he weaves a rich and complex web of invention and observation. Finding depth and pathos in the smallest moments - the death of a cottager, the firing of an estate's gardener - Naipaul also comprehends the bigger picture - watching as the old world is lost to the gradual but permanent changes wrought on the English landscape by the march of `progress'. This is a moving and beautiful novel told with great dignity, compassion and candour. `Written with the expected beauty of style . . . Instead of diminishing life, Naipaul ennobles it' Anthony Burgess, Observer `The conclusion is both heart-breaking and bracing: the only antidote to destruction - of dreams, of reality - is remembering. As eloquently as anyone now writing, Naipaul remembers.' Time

Magic Seeds

Magic Seeds

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2011

Willie Chandran is a man who has allowed one identity after another to be thrust upon him. In his early forties, after a peripatetic life, he succumbs to the encouragement of his sister - and his own listlessness - and joins an underground movement in India. But years of revolutionary campaigns and then prison convince him that the revolution `had nothing to do with what we were fighting for', and he feels himself further than ever `from his own history'. When he returns to Britain where, thirty years before, his wanderings began, Willie encounters a country that has turned its back on its past and, like him, has become detached from its own history. He endures the indignities of a culture dissipated by reform and compromise until, in a moment of grotesque revelation - a tour de force of parodic savagery from our most visionary of writers - Willie comes to an understanding that might finally allow him to release his true self. `A radical further step in one of the great imaginative careers of our time . . . Magic Seeds demands our attention, and nothing more authoritative will be published this year' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph `A novel that has subtlety, originality, shattering emotion and unmatched precision of language' Observer

A Bend in the River

A Bend in the River

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2011

`Brilliant and terrifying' Observer Set in an unnamed African country, the book is narrated by Salim, a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast. He believes The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it. So he has taken the initiative; left the coast; acquired his own shop in a small, growing city in the continent's remote interior and is selling sundries - little more than this and that, really - to the natives. This spot, this `bend in the river', is a microcosm of post-colonial Africa at the time of Independence: a scene of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation and poverty. And from this rich landscape emerges one of the author's most potent works - a truly moving story of historical upheaval and social breakdown. `Naipaul has fashioned a work of intense imaginative force. It is a haunting creation, rich with incident and human bafflement, played out in an immense detail of landscape rendered with a poignant brilliance.' Elizabeth Hardwick `Always a master of fictional landscape, Naipaul here shows, in his variety of human examples and in his search for underlying social causes, a Tolstoyan spirit' John Updike Set in an unnamed African country, the book is narrated by Salim, a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast. He believes The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it. So he has taken the initiative; left the coast; acquired his own shop in a small, growing city in the continent's remote interior and is selling sundries - little more than this and that, really - to the natives. This spot, this `bend in the river', is a microcosm of post-colonial Africa at the time of Independence: a scene of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation and poverty. And from this rich landscape emerges one of the author's most potent works - a truly moving story of historical upheaval and social breakdown.

A Way in the World A Sequence

A Way in the World A Sequence

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/01/2011

`His own modern labour of love, loss and disquiet, this really is a book to treasure' Malcolm Bradbury, Sunday Express This vastly innovative novel explores colonial inheritance through a series of narratives that span continents, swing back and forth between past and present and delve into both autobiography and fiction. Naipaul offers a personal choice of examples of Spanish and British imperial history in the Caribbean, including an imagined vision of Raleigh's last expedition and an introduction to Francisco de Miranda, a would-be liberator and precursor to Bolivar, which are placed within a context of echoing modernity and framed by two more personal, heavily autobiographical sections sketching the narrator - an eloquent yet humble man of Indian descent who grew up in Trinidad but spent much of his adult life in England and Africa. Meditative and dramatic, these historical reconstructions, imbued with Naipaul's acute perception, drawn with his deft and sensitive touch, and told in his beautifully wrought prose, are transmuted into an astonishing novel exploring the profound and mysterious effect of history on the individual. `One of his supreme triumphs' Adam Thorpe, European `A bewitching piece of work by a mind at the peak of its abilities' New York Times Book Review

The Loss of El Dorado A Colonial History

The Loss of El Dorado A Colonial History

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2010

At the centre of this extraordinary historical narrative are two linked themes: the grinding down of the aborigines during the long rivalries of the quest for El Dorado, the mythical kingdom of gold; and, two hundred years later, the man-made horror of the new slave colony. Naipaul shows how the alchemic delusion of El Dorado drew the small island of Trinidad into the vortex of world events, making it the object of Spanish and English colonial designs and a Mecca for treasure-seekers, slave-traders, and revolutionaries. And through an accumulation of casual, awful detail, he takes us as close as we can get to day-to-day life in the Caribbean slave plantations - at the time thought to be more brutal than their American equivalents. In this brilliantly researched book, living characters large and small are rescued from the records and set in a larger, guiding narrative - about the New World, empire, African slavery, revolution - which is never less than gripping. `History as literature, meticulously researched and masterfully written' New York Times Book Review `A formidable achievement. . . . No historian has attempted to weave together in so subtle a manner the threads of the most complex and turbulent period of Caribbean history' Times Literary Supplement `Brilliant. . . . Startling' New Statesman `A remarkable book. . . . Intelligent, humane, brilliantly written' Book World

Beyond Belief Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples

Beyond Belief Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2010

This is a book about one of the more important and unsettling issues of our time. But it is not a book of opinion. It is, in the Naipaul way, a very rich and human book, full of people and their stories: stories of family, both broken and whole; of religion and nation; and of the constant struggle to create a world of virtue and prosperity in equal measure. Islam is an Arab religion, and it makes imperial Arabizing demands on its converts. In this way it is more than a private faith; and it can become a neurosis. What has this Arab Islam done to the histories of the non-Arab Islamic states: Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia? How do the converted peoples view their past - and their future? In a follow-up to Among the Believers, his classic account of his travels through these countries, V. S. Naipaul returns, after a gap of seventeen years, to find out how and what the converted preach. `Sceptical, enquiring, sharply observant and unfailingly stylish' Guardian `Peerless . . . the human encounters are described minutely, superbly, picking up inconsistencies in people's tales, catching the uncertainties and the nuances . . . there is a candour to his writing, a constant precision at its heart' Sunday Times

Among the Believers An Islamic Journey

Among the Believers An Islamic Journey

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2010

Among the Believers is V.S. Naipaul's classic account of his journeys through Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia; `the believers' are the Muslims he met on those journeys, young men and women battling to regain the original purity of their faith in the hope of restoring order to a chaotic world. It is a uniquely valuable insight into modern Islam and the comforting simplifications of religious fanaticism. `This book investigates the Islamic revolution and tries to understand the fundamentalist zeal that has gripped the young in Iran and other Muslim countries . . . He is a modern master' Sunday Times `Beautifully written and almost impossible to put down' Auberon Waugh `The edgy exactitude of Naipaul's writing is both effortlessly classical and yet at the same time brilliantly contemporary, as sharp and lucid as a spear of glass . . . He is inimitable, truly great and truly deserving of the Nobel' Robert McCrum, Observer `His level of perception is of the highest, and his prose has become the perfect instrument for realizing those perceptions on the page. His travel writing is perhaps the most important body of work of its kind in the second half of the century' Martin Amis

India: A Wounded Civilization

India: A Wounded Civilization

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2010

THE SECOND BOOK IN V.S. NAIPAUL'S ACCLAIMED INDIAN TRILOGY In 1964 V.S. Naipaul published An Area of Darkness, his semi-autobiographical account of a year in India. Two visits later, prompted by the Emergency of 1975, he came to write India: A Wounded Civilization. In this work he casts a more analytical eye than before over Indian attitudes, while recapitulating and further probing the feelings aroused in him by this vast, mysterious, and agonized country. What he saw and heard - evoked so superbly and vividly in these pages - reinforced in him a conviction that India, wounded by a thousand years of foreign rule, has not yet found an ideology of regeneration. A work of fierce candour and precision, it is also a generous description of one man's complicated relationship with the country of his ancestors. `A devastating work, but proof that a novelist of Naipaul's stature can often define problems quicker and more effectively than a team of economists and other experts' The Times `It is a long and angry stare at the obvious; it is humbling . . . because it seems chasteningly right' New Statesman `Brilliant' Spectator

India: A Million Mutinies Now

India: A Million Mutinies Now

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2010

THE THIRD BOOK IN V.S. NAIPAUL'S ACCLAIMED INDIAN TRILOGY - WITH A NEW PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR Much has changed since V. S. Naipaul's first trip to India and this fascinating account of his return journey focuses on India's development since independence. Taking an anti-clockwise journey around the metropolises of India - including Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, and Delhi - Naipaul offers a kaleidoscopic, layered travelogue, encompassing a wide collage of religions, castes, and classes at a time when the percolating ideas of freedom threatened to shake loose the old ways. The brilliance of the book lies in Naipaul's decision to approach this shifting, changing land from a variety of perspectives: the author humbly recedes, allowing the Indians to tell the stories of their own lives, and a dynamic oral history of India emerges before our eyes. India: A Million Mutinies Now is a truly perceptive work whose insights continue to inform travellers of all generations to India. `Brilliantly enjoyable . . . Everybody should read him' Sunday Telegraph `With this book he may well have written his own enduring monument, in prose at once stirring and intensely personal, distinguished both by style and critical acumen' Financial TImes

An Area of Darkness His Discovery of India

An Area of Darkness His Discovery of India

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2010

THE FIRST BOOK IN V.S. NAIPAUL'S ACCLAIMED INDIAN TRILOGY - WITH A NEW PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR An Area of Darkness is V. S. Naipaul's semi-autobiographical account - at once painful and hilarious, but always thoughtful and considered - of his first visit to India, the land of his forebears. He was twenty-nine years old; he stayed for a year. From the moment of his inauspicious arrival in Prohibition-dry Bombay, bearing whisky and cheap brandy, he experienced a cultural estrangement from the subcontinent. It became for him a land of myths, an area of darkness closing up behind him as he travelled . . . The experience was not a pleasant one, but the pain the author suffered was creative rather than numbing, and engendered a masterful work of literature that provides a revelation both of India and of himself: a displaced person who paradoxically possesses a stronger sense of place than almost anyone. `Brilliant' Observer `His narrative skill is spectacular. One returns with pleasure to the slow hand-in-hand revelations of both India and himself' The Times

Writer's People

Writer's People

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: eBook Release Date: 29/04/2008

Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveler, V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of "e;fitting one civilization to another."e; Here, he takes us into his sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation, which has shaped both his writing and his life. In a probing narrative that is part meditation and part remembrance, Naipaul discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on and his first encounters with literary culture. He looks at what we have retained and what we have forgotten of the classical world, and he illuminates the ways in which Indian writers such as Gandhi and Nehru both reveal and conceal themselves and their nation. Full of humor and privileged insight, this is an eloquent, intimate exploration into the configuration of a writer's mind.

Bend in the River

Bend in the River

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: eBook Release Date: 26/06/2005

This incandescent novel chronicles both an internal journey and a physical trek into the heart of Africa, a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions. Exploring political and individual corruption, it expresses skepticism about the ability of newly decolonized nations to forge independent identities. Salim, a Muslim Indian merchant, opens a store in a sleepy small town at a bend in the river, whose inhabitants include a Belgian priest, a witch, and a white intellectual named Raymond. The president of the new country is a demagogue called the Big Man who hires Raymond as his speechwriter. Salim loses control of his store to the commercially inexperienced Citizen Theotime, who hires Salim to manage it. Gradually, the town's veneer of civilization begins to crumble.

Miguel Street (Caribbean Writers Series)

Miguel Street (Caribbean Writers Series)

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/08/2000

Life in Trinidad is described through the eyes of a street rab in Miguel Street. The happy-go-lucky community abounds in eccentric characters.

Reading And Writing

Reading And Writing

Author: V. S. Naipaul Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2000

A House For Mr Biswas

A House For Mr Biswas

Author: V. S. Naipaul, Karl Miller Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/09/1995

In the comic masterpiece which established him one of the greatest writers in the English language, Naipaul follows the fortunes of Mr Biswas, the outsider who refuses to conform to the customs of his grander in-laws whose house he lives in. Finally finding a house of his own, he triumphs over the smaller minds who would repress him.