A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling

By V. S. Naipaul
Read by Simon Vance

5.33 Hours 04/29/2008 unabridged
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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 “fitting one civilization to another.” 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.

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Summary

Summary

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 “fitting one civilization to another.” 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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“What remains impressive…is Naipaul’s sense of wonder at the worlds he has discovered. For all his haughtiness, something fresh and innocent infuses his early memories and his recollections of the alienation and loneliness he felt in his early years in London. Few writers have traveled as far from their origins as Naipaul has, and done it so willingly and with such single-mindedness, and few have regretted that estrangement quite so much.” New York Times Book Review
“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.” Evening Standard (London)
“There are some amazingly lofty and chilling lines…But there are also explorations of his own woundedness, of his personal myth of origins, or lack of origins…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 (London)
“As ever, Naipaul’s sentences are tightly coiled and muscular; they embody the very qualities they praise…His characteristic excursions into the byways of history and autobiography are often revelatory, opening up new vistas…this is a brilliant work from a man who more than anybody else embodies what it means to be a writer.” Observer (London)
“An important coda, on a lifetime of ‘seeing’ and, perhaps unwittingly, on the violence of doing so…Its most brilliant pages (and the brilliance is still there, even in this late phase) are its most idiosyncratic and individual ones, reminding us that one compelling way of looking usually suggests the possibility of another.” Amit Chaudhuri, The Guardian
“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.” Seattle Times
“Fascinating…[Naipaul’s] ability to thoroughly engage with both the stylistic flaws of Flaubert’s novel Salammbô and an early biography of Gandhi within the space of a few pages is both illuminating and impressive.” Publishers Weekly
“As always with prickly, discerning, and uncompromising Naipaul, the discussions are stern in their testimony to the wounds of imperialism and prejudice, and tart with disdain for hypocrisy and artistic cowardice…[An] altogether piquant, magisterial, and maddening volume…Naipaul is exacting, even excoriating, because he cares so deeply about literature and the world.” Booklist

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932 and went to Oxford on a scholarship in 1950. He is the author of more than twenty-five books of fiction and nonfiction. His honors include the Nobel Prize, the Booker Prize, and a knighthood for services to literature. He was named a finalist for the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for achievement in fiction.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 5.33
Audience: Adult
Language: English