V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He came to England on a scholarship in 1950. He spent four years at University College, Oxford, and began to write, in London, in 1954. He pursued no other profession. His novels include A House for Mr Biswas, The Mimic Men, Guerrillas, A Bend in the River, and The Enigma of Arrival. In 1971 he was awarded the Booker Prize for In a Free State. His works of nonfiction, equally acclaimed, include Among the Believers, Beyond Belief, The Masque of Africa, and a trio of books about India: An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization and India: A Million Mutinies Now. In 1990, V.S. Naipaul received a knighthood for services to literature; in 1993, he was the first recipient of the David Cohen British Literature Prize. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He lived with his wife Nadira and cat Augustus in Wiltshire, and died in 2018.
Naipaul works his way through family history while considering the broader literary culture. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
The fascinating but not fully satisfying new book by Nobel prize-winner Naipaul is a curious collection. These five nonfiction pieces have no thematic through-line or argument, wandering instead through pockets of memoir, literary criticism, history and gossip. Naipaul is well-versed for this type of journey, as his past forays into fiction, travel writing and autobiography have proven, and his ability to thoroughly engage with both the stylistic flaws of Flaubert's novel Salammb and an early biography of Gandhi within the space of a few pages is both illuminating and impressive. One of the loose organizing themes of the book is Naipaul's relationships with other writers and books, a subject on which he expounds fully and often with more than a touch of spite. In "An English Way of Looking," on the British writer Anthony Powell, a good friend during Naipaul's early years in London, Naipaul criticizes Powell's writing unrelentingly, then paints extraordinarily unflattering portraits of Auberon Waugh and Phillip Larkin as punishment for their criticism of Powell. Nonetheless, Naipaul's latest offers an honest portrait of a major international writer's perspective from late in life. (May 5) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"Bracing, surprising.... A meditation on art and life."--The New York Review of Books"True to Naipaul's ability to engender the provocative out of the provoking.... A visionary vantage over the wider human condition."--The Boston Globe"Looking hard at cruelty, taking nothing for granted, are the hallmarks of Naipaul's stance. His writing gleams with brilliance . . . It's impossible not to admire the prose."--The Seattle Times"A bracing, erudite ride . . . Wonderfully written . . . One may question Naipaul's premise, but it in no way negates that he is a very great writer . . . What remains impressive is Naipaul's sense of wonder at the worlds he has discovered."--New York Times Book Review"Rich with surprise and erudition, informed by an alchemist's imagination . . . Naipaul explores [ways of looking] sometimes through the experiences of the notable (Gandhi), sometimes through the eyes of the nearly anonymous (an upholsterer), sometimes through those tiny moments of immense significance that have long been a feature of Naipaul's work."--Kirkus ReviewsPraise from the UK: "This is an important coda, on a lifetime of 'seeing' . . . For Naipaul, 'seeing' with clarity is all-important to both constantly remaking the world through literature and to fashioning a history for oneself . . . Brilliant."--Amit Chaudhuri, The Guardian"Naipaul's latest collection of essays, A Writer's People, is essential reading for those who admire his work and want to understand it further. But there is much there for any enquiring mind, as it offers the insights and observations on literature, history and cultural sensibility of an honest and truly global thinker."--The Evening Standard"Many sides of the complicated Naipaul personality are on show as he sets them out . . . Naipaul is at his best here when teasing out the ironies and complexities of cultural exchange in the persons of figures with whom he can identify."--Sunday Telegraph"It is Naipaul's 'way of looking and feeling' that has made his work so controversial . . . But this is a brilliant work from a man who more than anybody else embodies what it means to be a writer . . . As it turns out, Naipaul's reading has been as wide and deep as his peregrinations through the decolonised world . . . As ever, his sentences are tightly coiled and muscular; they embody the very qualities they praise . . . Revelatory."--The Observer