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Praises for A House for Mr. Biswas
Extract from his books:
An Area of Drakness
The Mimic Men
India: A Wounded Civilization
A Million Mutinies
Half A Life
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I very much hope that this page on the author turns out to be helpful to those who want to know about the recent Nobel Laureate.  Just now, I am working towards expanding this page on Naipaul and in near future, I hope to make it one of the best web pages on Naipaul. So, a 18 year old college student asks for help to all those who visit this page. Please do send me any articles on Naipaul( can be your views or opinions on Naipaul and his works,  reviews of his books). And I will have them  on my page for everyone to see.   
  Write them to me at rigzin143s@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                     

Naipaul, 69, was commended for his

V.S Naipaul has been awarded the 2001 Nobel Literature Prize and the Swedish Academy single out his 1987 work The Enigma of Arrival

What the Swedish Academy said in the citation:

"In a vigilant style, Naipaul transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony."

"Naipaul is (Joseph) Conrad's heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in his memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished."

"In his masterpiece (The Enigma of Arrival), Naipaul visit the reality of England like an anthropologist studying some hitherto unexplored native tribe deep in the jungle."

In this book the author had created an "unrelenting image of the placid collapse of the old colonial ruling culture and the demise of European neighborhoods."

"With apparently short-sighted and random observations, he creates an unrelenting image of the placid collapse of the old colonial ruling culture and the demise of European neighbourhoods."

"He is to a very high degree a cosmopolitan writer, a fact that he himself considers to stem from his lack of roots: he is unhappy about the cultural and spiritual poverty of Trinidad, he feels alienated from India, and in England he is incapable of relating to and identifying with the traditional values of what was once a colonial power,"

 


 
A
P
rofilE:

.V(idiadhar) S(urajprasad) Naipaul was born in 1932 in Trinidad of Brahmin family. His father, Seepersad Naipaul was a journalist and a failed writer.  Educated at Queen's Royal College, Port of Spain, he came to England in 1950 to do a university course at University College, Oxford and began to write in London in 1954. He settled there and got married in 1955. He has not followed any other profession.
                                                              
His first three books, The Mystic Masseur (1957), The Suffrage of Elvira (1958) and Miguel Street (short stories,1959) were all set in Trinidad. The Mystic Masseur won John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize and Miguel Street Somerset Maugham Award. His next novel and probably his best novel so far A House for Mr. Biswas (1961) is also set in Trinidad. The story revolves around Mohan Biswas (a character inspired by Naipaul 's father) from his birth to death. Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion (1963) his only novel set in London won him the Hawthornden Prize. This was followed by The Mimic Men (1967) set on a fictitious Caribbean Island which won the W.H. Smith Award. After that, he wrote A Flag on the Island (1967), a collection of short stories followed by The Loss of El Dorado (1969) and three novels, In a Free State which won him the prestigious Booker Prize in 1971, Guerrillas (1975) and A Bend in the River (1979). After a gap of long time, he has finally come out with a work of fiction titled Half A Life (2001).
                                                     
Naipaul is also known for his non-fiction works especially as a travel writer. His non-fiction works are The Middle Passage (1962), An Area of Darkness (1964), The Overcrowded Barracoon (1972), India: A Wounded Civilization (1977), The Return of Eva Peron, The Killings in Trinidad (1980),  Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981), Finding the Centre (1984) and Beyond Belief (1998).

V.S. Pritchett (1900-  ) himself an accomplished author assessed V.S. Naipaul as a writer who "uses all his uses all his wits to make people talk of themselves ... [through] his ingenious Socratic questioning".

Seepersad Naipaul, father of V.S. Naipaul was a journalist as well as an unsuccessful writer ( The Adventures of Gurudeva).

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PRAISES
 
(FOR: A HOUSE FOR MR. BISWAS)

'The masterpiece that first established V.S Naipaul among 'the handful of living writers of whom the English language can be proud'.  -John Leonard in The New York Times
      

'A work of great comic power qualified with firm and unsentimental compassion' -Anthony Burgess

NOTE BY ME
-
Highly Recommended. I am not any kind of critic or a reviewer so I can't say much about this novel though I have read it, except that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. This is the only book by Naipaul that I have read. I look forward to reading his other works of fiction like A Bend in the River, The Mystic Masseur and Half A life ( his non-fictions are bit difficult for a 18 year old to understand, I think)

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Extract from his Books:

An Area of Darkness:

"Indians defecate everywhere. They defecate, mostly, beside the railway tracks. But they also defecate on the beaches; they defecate on the hills; they defecate on the riverbanks; they defecate on the streets; they never look for cover. Muslims, with their tradition of purdah, can at times be secretive. But this is a religious act of self-denial, for it is said that the peasant, Muslim or Hindu, suffers from claustrophobia if he has to use an enclosed latrine...."These squatting figures-to the visitor, after a time, as eternal and emblematic as Rodin's Thinker- are never spoken of; they are never written about; they are not mentioned in novels or stories; they do not appear in feature films or documentaries. This might be regarded as part of a permissible prettifying intention. But the truth is that Indians do not see these squatters and might even, with complete sincerity, deny that they exist: a collective blindness arising out of the Indian fear of pollution and the resulting conviction that Indians are the cleanest people in the world."

The Mimic Men

"I write I know, from both sides, I cannot do otherwise. My mother's father was no doubt an undignified figure, an object of easy satire. But at least at the end, within the framework of our old order, benevolence and service were imposed on him. And he was never as totally ridiculous as the men we put in his place: men without talent or achievement save the reputed one of controlling certain sections of the population, unproductive uncreative men who pushed themselves into prominence by an excess of that bitterness which every untalented clerk secretes. Their bitterness responded to our appeal. And in this response we saw the success of our appeal, and its truth!

India: A Wounded civilization

"Indian poverty is more dehumanizing than any machine: and, more than in any machine civilization, men in India are units, locked up in the straitest obedience by their idea of their dharma. The scientist returning to India sheds the individuality he acquired during his time abroad; he regains the security of his caste identity, and the world is once more simplified. There are minutes rules, as comforting as bandages; individual perception and judgement, which once called forth his creativity, are relinquished as burdens, and the man is once more a unit in his herd, his science reduced to a skill. The blight of caste is not only untouchability and the consequent deification in India of filth; the blight, in an India that tries to grow, is also the over-all obedience it imposes, its readymade satisfactions, the diminishing of adventurousness, the pushing away from men of individuality and the possibility of excellence.
     "Men might rebel; but in the end they usually make their peace. There is no room in India for outsiders...."

A Million Mutinies

"A Million mutinies, supported by twenty kinds of group excess, sectarian excess, religious excess, regional excess: the beginning of self-awareness, it would seem, the beginnings of an intellectual life, already negated by old anarchy and disorder. But there was in India now what didn't exist in 200 years before: a central will, a central intellect, a national idea. the Indian Union was greater than the sum of its parts; and many of these movements of excess strengthened the Indian state, defining it as the source of law and civility and reasonableness. The Indian Union gave people a second chance, calling them back from the excesses with which, in another century, or in other circumstances (as neighbouring countries showed), they might have had to live: the destructive chauvinism of the Shiv Sena, the tyranny of many kinds of religious fundamentalism (people always ready in Indian to let religion carry the burden of their pain), the film-star corruption and racial politics of the south, the pious Marxist idleness and nullity of Bengal."

Half A Life

"I must go back. We come from a line of priests. We were attached to a certain temple. I do  not know when the temple was built or which ruler built it or for how long we have been attached to it: we are not people with that kind of knowledge. We of the temple priesthood and our families made a  community. At one time I suppose we would have been a very rich and prosperous community, served in various ways by the people whom we served. But when the Muslims conquered the land we all became poor. The people we served could no longer support us. Things became worse when  the British came. There was law, but the population increased. There were far too many of us in the temple community. This was what my grandfather told me. All the complicated rules of the community held, but there was actually very little to eat. People became thin and weak and fell ill easily. What a fate for our priestly communtiy1 I didn't like hearing the stories my grandfather told of that time, in the 1890s." 

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