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Essays: The Writer and the World

V. S.; Mishra, Pankaj (editor) Naipaul

231 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0330487205 / ISBN 13: 9780330487207
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated, 2002
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Essays: The Writer and the World

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 2nd Printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

This wonderful collection of essays by V.S. Naipul features pieces taken from his earlier books - "The Overcrowded Barracoon", "The Return of Eva Peron" and "Finding the Centre" - and also includes several previously uncollected essays. Concentrating mainly on V.S. Naipaul's writings about India, the Americas, Africa and the Diaspora, it is a clear-eyed and magnificent introduction to the writer's extraordinary world. '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. Is there no one who could persuade him to go on one last journey?' - "Observer". 'As these essays lavishly demonstrate, he is a true citizen of the world, and he richly deserves the Nobel prize he was awarded last year'. - "Scotland on Sunday".

Review:

V.S. Naipaul is a creature of paradox. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his essay collection, The Writer and the World. These essays, selected and introduced by Pankaj Mishra, range from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s. In them, our man travels the world, from his native Trinidad to his ancestral India to America and beyond, always looking with clear eyes at what's right there in front of him. In doing so, he's given us a distinctly Naipaulean journalism: he writes about countries as though they were people. "The politics of a country," he says, "can only be an extension of its idea of human relationships." His writing is, as a result, simultaneously petty and grand. Here, he writes of Belize City:

In the late afternoons Negroes in jackets and ties--famous throughout Central America for their immunity to disease--walk behind the hearses to the cemetery just outside the town, waving white handkerchiefs... It is like a ceremony of bewildered farewell at the limit of the world. But they are only keeping off the mosquitoes and sand flies.
Here is a writer who turns the specific to the universal, seemingly without effort. If Naipaul has a reputation as a grouch, it's only because he never lets go of the specific in favor of the universal. The two always coexist. The pieces contained here--mostly heretofore out of print--are short in length, catholic in interest, and in all a fine introduction to our most cosmopolitan postcolonial writer. --Claire Dederer

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