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VS Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas: "A poem to the island"

His novel "The Masque of Africa" was based on his travels in Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Nigeria, Uganda , South Africa and Ghana.


Devdiscourse News Desk 12 Aug 2018, 03:28 AM Trinidad and Tobago
  • His novel "The Masque of Africa" was based on his travels in Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Nigeria, Uganda , South Africa and Ghana. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul aka V. S Naipaul passed away yesterday just six days before his eighty-sixth birthday.

Best known for his novel "A Bend in the River" he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. His novels had a pessimistic approach and mostly were set in developing countries. 

He left Trinidad in 1950 and moved to England to attend Universty of Oxford. His works were both ironical and satirical including The Mystic Masseur, 1957; The Suffrage of Elvira, 1958; and Miguel Street, 1959. He got recognition from his fourth novel "A House for Mr. Biswas". The novel set in Trinidad is about how the main character tries to assert his personal identity. 

He also wrote nonfictional works and all the three are studies of India, An Area of Darkness (1965), A Wounded Civilization (!977) and India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990).

Through his art, he also explored Africa. His novel "The Masque of Africa" was based on his travels in Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana.

His controversial relationship with Trinidad was explained by him as  "After the destruction of the aboriginal people, there was wilderness. And then on that wilderness there began to be created a plantation. And I fear that is how we have to think of the place. It can't be a country in the way you would think of ... Turkey being a country."

A House for Mr. Biswas was his personal novel. The novel based on his father's life gave a different view of Trinidad and that of Naipaul. James Wood describing is novel said: "It's extremely funny; it's truly a comic novel. It's a very tender letter to Trinidad in which it's quite clear that the childish Naipaul had gone around the island swallowing all the information he could. It's full of detail. It's really a poem to the island."


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