A Writer's People: Ways Of Looking And Feeling

by V S Naipaul

Knopf Canada | November 20, 2009 | Hardcover

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In his first book of non-fiction since 2003, V.S. Naipaul gives us an eloquent, candid, wide-ranging narrative that delves into the sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation.

Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveller, Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of "fitting one civilisation to another." In A Writer's People, he discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on, Derek Walcott, Flaubert and his own father among them; how Anthony Powell and Francis Wyndham influenced his first encounters with literary culture; what we have retained-and forgotten-of the world portrayed in Caesar's The Gallic War and Virgil's Aeneid; how the writings of Gandhi, Nehru and other Indian writers both reveal and conceal the authors and their nation. And he brings the same scrutiny to bear on his own life: his years in Trinidad; the gaps in his family history; the "private India" kept alive through story, ritual, religion and culture; his ever-evolving reaction to the more complicated and demanding true India he would encounter for the first time when he was thirty.

Part meditation, part remembrance, as elegant as it is revelatory, A Writer's People allows us privileged insight-full of incident, humour and feeling-into the mind of one of our greatest writers.

"He brings to non-fiction an extraordinary capacity for making art out of lucid thought. . . . I can no longer imagine the world without Naipaul's writing." Los Angeles Times Book Review

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 208 pages, 3.42 × 2.33 × 0.34 in

Published: November 20, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307396932

ISBN - 13: 9780307396938

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– More About This Product –

A Writer's People: Ways Of Looking And Feeling

by V S Naipaul

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 208 pages, 3.42 × 2.33 × 0.34 in

Published: November 20, 2009

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307396932

ISBN - 13: 9780307396938

Read from the Book

The Worm in the Bud Early in 1949, in Trinidad, near the end of my schooldays, word came to us in the sixth form of Queen’s Royal College that there was a serious young poet in one of the smaller islands to the north who had just published a marvellous first book of poems. We had never had news like this before, not about a new book of poetry or about any kind of book; and I still wonder by what means this news could have reached us. We were a small, mainly agricultural colony and we said all the time, without unhappiness, that we were a dot on the map of the world. It was a liberating thing to be, and we were really very small. There were just over half a million of us. We were racially much divided. On the island, small though we were, the living half-cultures or quarter-cultures of colonial Europe and immigrant Asia knew almost nothing of one another; a transported Africa was the presence all around us, like the sea. Only segments of our varied population were educated, and in the restricted local way, which we in the sixth form understood very well: we could see the professional or career cul-de-sacs to which our education was leading us. As always in these colonial places, there were little reading and writing groups here and there, now and then: harmless pools of vanity that came and went and didn’t add up to anything like an organised or solid literary or cultural life. It seemed unlikely that there were people out there who were guardians of the life of th
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From the Publisher

In his first book of non-fiction since 2003, V.S. Naipaul gives us an eloquent, candid, wide-ranging narrative that delves into the sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation.

Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveller, Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of "fitting one civilisation to another." In A Writer's People, he discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on, Derek Walcott, Flaubert and his own father among them; how Anthony Powell and Francis Wyndham influenced his first encounters with literary culture; what we have retained-and forgotten-of the world portrayed in Caesar's The Gallic War and Virgil's Aeneid; how the writings of Gandhi, Nehru and other Indian writers both reveal and conceal the authors and their nation. And he brings the same scrutiny to bear on his own life: his years in Trinidad; the gaps in his family history; the "private India" kept alive through story, ritual, religion and culture; his ever-evolving reaction to the more complicated and demanding true India he would encounter for the first time when he was thirty.

Part meditation, part remembrance, as elegant as it is revelatory, A Writer's People allows us privileged insight-full of incident, humour and feeling-into the mind of one of our greatest writers.

"He brings to non-fiction an extraordinary capacity for making art out of lucid thought. . . . I can no longer imagine the world without Naipaul's writing." Los Angeles Times Book Review

From the Jacket

"Naipaul offers a liberating frankness. It's a rare and oddly exhilarating thing to encounter a master so manifestly unconcerned with being liked . . . The reputations of Austen, James and Hardy, after all, will most likely survive Naipaul's disdain, but if even one outraged devotee of those giants is turned on to Bond or Selvon or Chaudhuri, then A Writer's People will have done a noble service."
- Ottawa Citizen

"[W]hat remains impressive . . . is Naipaul's sense of wonder at the worlds he has discovered. . . . 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."
- The New York Times

"A brilliant work from a man who more than anybody else embodies what it means to be a writer."
-The Observer

"Naipaul writes wonderfully well. He is opinionated, tells gripping stories, loves beyond all else the specificity of details."
-The Independent

"Told in elegantly succinct prose, this deft book offers glimpses of autobiography as well as biography."
-Daily Mail

About the Author

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Half a Life; A House for Mr. Biswas; A Bend in the River; Magic Seeds and a collection of letters, Between Father and Son. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001.

Editorial Reviews

"Naipaul offers a liberating frankness. It's a rare and oddly exhilarating thing to encounter a master so manifestly unconcerned with being liked . . . The reputations of Austen, James and Hardy, after all, will most likely survive Naipaul's disdain, but if even one outraged devotee of those giants is turned on to Bond or Selvon or Chaudhuri, then A Writer''s People will have done a noble service."
- Ottawa Citizen

"[W]hat remains impressive . . . is Naipaul's sense of wonder at the worlds he has discovered. . . . 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."
- The New York Times

"A brilliant work from a man who more than anybody else embodies what it means to be a writer."
-The Observer

"Naipaul writes wonderfully well. He is opinionated, tells gripping stories, loves beyond all else the specificity of details."
-The Independent

"Told in elegantly succinct prose, this deft book offers glimpses of autobiography as well as biography."
-Daily Mail
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