The writer VS Naipaul, who spent more than half a century on location and identity issues, died at the age of 85.
Lady Naipaul confirmed that her husband died peacefully in London. "He was a giant in everything he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved, a life of wonderful creativity and aspirations," she said. Moving away from the comedy that began his career, Naipaul threw a steel look at the shards of the Empire in a series of novels and travelogues.
Scruffy portraits of the West Indies, India, Africa and the Islamic faith brought both hostility and applause. Critics accused him of despising the people of the developing world, even though his diamond prose had earned him a number of accolades, including the Booker Prize in 1
Naipaul became a family in 1932 that came to Trinidad from India in the 1880s, part of what he once called "an immigrant Asian community on a small plantation island in the New World." It was a community in which he never felt at home, in 2008 he remembered his childhood as "pretty horrible" and his family as "terrible … very tall, with too many people." There was no beauty. It was full of malice. "A government scholarship offered him a chance to escape, an immigrant once more when he traveled to Oxford in 1950 to learn English.
He dreamed of a literary career since he was ten years old, he hoped "find out his material and miraculously become a writer" while studying for his "worthless degree" but instead finding only "loneliness and despair" as he told the Paris magazine in 1998. "I was far too well prepared for it, I was much smarter than most people at my college or course."
Meanwhile, Naipaul fought to translate his ambitions into something concrete, gave up two novels, and completed his work on the BBC World Service from presentation on the weekly Caribbean Voices slot. As he sat in the freelancer's room at the station's Langham House, a recollection of a neighbor in Port of Spain began, and he began writing a story: "Every morning when he got up, Hat sat on the railing of his back porch shouting," What is Going there, Bogart? "" He was sitting at the typewriter, as if the story of a man living in a rundown street wrote himself and did not dare to leave the room until he was done. "The next day he wrote one more, then another, until in six weeks he had a whole collection of colorful stories.
André Deutsch was not ready to dare short stories by an unknown writer, and encouraged him to write a novel, The Mystic, masseur released in 1957. But when his debut novel won the Jonathan Llewellyn Rhys Prize, Naipaul was already making the light comedy that marked his first three books Spinning around a subject, he began to tell the story of a man modeled on his father, Seepersad, a journalist and up-and-coming writer who collapsed in 1933 and died 20 years later. A home for Mr. Biswas shows the setbacks and humiliation suffered by a man born to Indian parents in rural Trinidad, his struggles with his wife's overbearing family, and his search for a place to call himself.
Review for the Observer In In 1961, Colin MacInnes was amazed at how Naipaul achieved the "splendid contradiction" of a sad, sometimes frightful and frightening, but also funny, even comical work and harbored a voice that "even scornfully or ironically can be "tender, just, kind, petite, filled with unobtrusive compassion. "
For Amitav Ghosh, who wrote in 2001, it was the last time that Naipaul considered" life outside the West on his own terms. "
Afterwards," Ghosh argued, "the richly structured islands of his early work would become disappear and be replaced by a series of largely interchangeable cartoons of societies that are portrayed as "half-made" compared to Europe. "
Experience of his u phringing, Naipaul felt the need to move on. In 1960, invited by the government of Trinidad and Tobago to visit the islands at their expense, Naipaul traveled for five months through the West Indies and published a report about his trip two years later. But the Middle Passage was not the hymn to a vibrant country on the verge of independence that Prime Minister Eric Williams had expected. Naipaul set the tone in a starting line that described his departure on the Waterloo boat train with "such a crowd of immigrated West Indians" that he was "glad … [to be] traveling first class". He travels through Trinidad, British Guiana, Suriname, Jamaica and Martinique, but gets tired of what he finds and sees every day "the same things – unemployment, ugliness, overpopulation, race".
"History is built around achievement and creation," he writes, "and nothing has been created in the West Indies."
Critics in New York and London welcomed Naipaul's "ironic exposition and resigned analysis" and welcomed a tone which they described as "critical, but human". inevitable indignation "tempered" with an admirable sense of humor. "But while the St Lucian poet Derek Walcott found Naipaul's writing brilliant, he was doubtful about the results of a report seen through" Victorian spectacles. "
"Everything is done to appear touching and ridiculous," he wrote. "The people he encounters have an ancient, desperate pathos. More often, they are vulgar and we can imagine how Mr. Naipaul retires in horror before exaggerating. "
For the next four decades, Naipaul explored the legacy of colonialism and won a number of awards as he switched from fiction to nonfiction, winning the WH Smith Award in 1968 with a novel by a West Indian politician exiled in London The Mimic Men and The Booker Prize, with a dark symphony of alienation, became a free state in 1971. The Swedish Academy praised it in 2001 with the Nobel Prize for Literature and praised it for "the present in works that forced us to do so In the meantime, he offered grim portraits of India, Africa, and Islam in a series of travelogues including 1964 An Area of Darkness, 1980's Congo Diary, and 1981's For critics such as Edward Said, Naipaul was "a witness to the Western indictment" and argued that "we" non-whites are the cause of all our problems. Not only did he "not care about the Third World at all," Said argued, but his reports were "ignorant, illiterate and cliché-ridden … Naipaul's portrayal of the Islamic, Latin American, African, Indian and Caribbean worlds ignores completely massive Infusing critical scholarship across these regions in favor of the tritest, cheapest and simplest colonial mythologies about wogs and darks. "
Naipaul was never afraid of controversy and in 2001 compared the" catastrophic effect "of Islam with colonialism a decade later suggested that he "Within one or two paragraphs," he could say whether a piece of Scripture is "of a woman or not." A dispute with Paul Theroux, which began in 1996, lasted 15 years before Ian McEwan negotiated an approach at the Hay Festival. Naipaul's protracted feud with Walcott proved less capable of action and reached its low point with the poet's attack on his Nobel laureate in 2008: "I was bitten, I must avoid an infection / Otherwise I'll be as dead as Naipaul's fiction." 19659002] His reputation suffered after he had told the New Yorker in 1994 that he had been "a great prostitute" while marrying Patricia Hale, and in 2008, after confessing to his biographer Patrick French a long-standing affair with Margaret Gooding was "very violent".
But Naipaul claimed to be unaffected by the criticism of his work, as he told the observer in 2008. "When I read these things, I am immensely amused," he said. "They did not hurt me at all."