November 21, 2004 |
Willie CHANDRAN has been released from a prison term in India for involvement in a guerrilla group and deported to Britain through the efforts of an activist London lawyer. A super-rich banker, a dabbler in fashionable causes, invites him for a weekend at his country estate. Reminding him of the clothes snobbery of servants, the lawyer warns that they will unpack his modest suitcase. "It sounds like jail," Willie says. "They're always unpacking for you there." V.S.
September 1, 2003 |
From the age of 11, V.S. Naipaul had the consuming ambition to be a writer but, by his own account, lacked most, if not all, of the proclivities usually associated with a literary vocation. But in the long run, as we all know, this would not prevent him from becoming the author of some two dozen estimable works of fiction and nonfiction and being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2001. Unlike most children who grow up to be writers, young Naipaul was not an avid reader.
August 18, 2002 |
If ever there was a writer who made a supreme virtue out of an enduring necessity, surely that writer is V.S. Naipaul. The virtue is the bright, burning development of an unusually strong intelligence; the necessity is a temperament that nurses humiliation as one would nurse a seeping wound. The result: 50 years of literary interpretation of this, our one and only world, almost exclusively in terms of its crippling meanness.
October 21, 2001 |
V.S. Naipaul hates poverty. He hates the miserable material and intellectual conditions he encountered in his travels to Islamic countries; he hates the sordidness of Third World regimes. He is less interested in the suffering imposed by colonialism, which he knows and acknowledges, than he is in the suffering that he observes in the urgent present. For Naipaul's critics, however, it is rank snobbery merely to record the degradations of poverty or to register one's disgust at poverty.
October 15, 2001 |
Every truly modern writer is a nation without a flag--a sovereign consciousness, a government of the imagination. When it awarded V.S. Naipaul the Nobel Prize for Literature lastweek, the Swedish Academy resoundingly affirmed the importance of those facts and of the values--pluralism, tolerance and democracy--that are literary modernism's moral companions. Those who care about the modern culture that is the West's great contribution to the world stand badly in need of such an affirmation.
October 12, 2001 |
V.S. Naipaul, a master of prose and controversial interpreter of the developing world, won the centenary Nobel Prize for literature Thursday for "works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories." A perennial outsider, Naipaul, 69, was born on the island of Trinidad to parents of Indian descent and moved to Britain more than 50 years ago. He writes in English about what he has called "half-made" societies in the Caribbean, India, Africa and Asia.