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Thread: V.S. Naipul - Collections
02-08-2010, 12:48 PM #1
V.S. Naipul - Collections
A Bend in the River
When Salim, a young Indian man, is offered a small business in Central Africa, he accepts. As he strives to establish himself, he becomes closely involved with the fluid and dangerous politics of the newly-dependent state.
A House For Mr Biswas
A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS is V.S. Naipaul's unforgettable third novel. Born the "wrong way" and thrust into a world that greeted him with little more than a bad omen, Mohun Biswas has spent his 46 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, 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 masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against the backdrop of post-colonial Trinidad.
In A Free State
No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial 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.
In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people--Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious compound wife -- 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.
A stunning novel of the present moment that takes us into the hearts and minds of those who use terrorism as an ideal and a way of life, and those who aspire to the frightening power of wealth.
Abandoning a life he felt was not his own, Willie Chandran (the hero of Half a Life) moves to Berlin where his sister's radical political awakening inspires him to join a liberation movement in India. There, in the jungles and dirt-poor small villages, through months of secrecy and night marches, Willie - a solitary, inward man - discovers both the idealism and brutality of guerilla warfare. When he finally escapes the movement, he is imprisoned for the murder of three policemen. Released unexpectedly on condition he return to England, he attempts to climb back into life in the West, but his experience of wealth, love and despair in London only bedevils him further.
Magic Seeds is a moving tale of a man searching for his life and fearing he has wasted it, and a testing study of the conflicts between the rich and the poor, and the struggles within each. Its spare, elegant prose sizzles with devastating psychological analysis, bleak humour and astonishing characters. Only V. S. Naipaul could have written a novel so attuned to the world and so much a challenge to it.
The Mystic Masseur
In this slyly funny and lavishly inventive novel, his first, V. S. Naipaul traces the unlikely career of Ganesh Ramsumair, a failed schoolteacher and impecunious village masseur who in time becomes a revered mystic, a thriving entrepreneur, and the most beloved politician in Trinidad. To understand a little better, one has to realize that in the 1940s masseurs were the islandís medical practitioners of choice. As one character observes, I know the sort of doctors they have in Trinidad. They think nothing of killing two, three people before breakfast.
Ganesh's ascent is variously aided and impeded by a ****ensian cast of rogues and eccentrics. There his skeptical wife, Leela, whose schooling has made her excessively, fond. of; punctuation: marks!; and Leela's father, Ramlogan, a man of startling mood changes and an ever-ready cutlass. There the aunt known as The Great Belcher. There are patients pursued by malign clouds or afflicted with an amorous fascination with bicycles. Witty, tender, filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of Trinidad's dusty Indian villages, The Mystic Masseur is Naipaul at his most expansive and evocative.