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The World Is What It Is: The Authorized…

The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul (vuoden 2008 painos)

– tekijä: Patrick French

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2611080,920 (3.91)35
This authorized study of Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul examines his difficult early life as a child of Indian parents in colonial Trinidad, his Oxford education, the depression that marked his life in England, his complex personal life and romantic relationships, and his pursuit of becoming a great writer.… (lisätietoja)
Teoksen nimi:The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul
Kirjailijat:Patrick French
Info:Knopf (2008), Hardcover, 576 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul (tekijä: Patrick French)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
What a shitbag! Naipaul thrives on being a controversialist. This is sage. The author finds the soft areas in our hypocrisies about race and nation states. Naipaul exploits such. Quoting Mr. French, Naipaul's prose remains pellucid. His incorporation of these anxieties is an achievement. The Nobel Laureate's manipulation of such is well past the suspect.

I have yet to broach the personal life of Vidia. Not to wax sensationalist, I couldn’t make up this shit.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Great writers are not always great men. In fact, it has been claimed that The world is what it is. The authorized biography of V.S. Naipaul "reveals the true monster in V. S. Naipaul". Indeed, reading this biography you will experience a staggering mount of surprise, as you gradually realize what an awful person V. S. Naipaul obviously is. His abominable behaviour is described in so much detail and at such length, that one wonders whether or not Naipaul has ever considered retracting his authorization. The facts about the personal life of V. S. Naipaul that are revealed are truly shocking.

Patrick French has written an excellent biography of V. S. Naipaul. It is all there, for all to see. Without any moralizing comments, which essentially shows that the biographer is a man of his time. Perhaps that is what appealed to V. S. Naipaul in working with Patrick French as his biographer, as it is clearly not only a display of great skill, but also of great courage, for a relatively young biographer to write such a daring book about a Nobel Prize winner.

It is obvious, that V. S. Naipaul, the man, has a very unpleasant side to his character. He is shown to drop his friends, even claim they never were his friends, or speak evil about the behind their backs, while his relations with women raise eyebrows in most observers. The biographer neither comments, nor asks the women for their point of view. To a very large extent, Naipaul is described as an essentially very selfish, and self-centred personality, but the biography also shows that perhaps that was needed for the worm to crawl out of the mud. The women he used, after all, gave themselves to him. It is almost as if Naipaul is never out of the role of the author, and that both in his work and in the world he is the creator. For a better understanding of this contradiction, it may be useful to read Naipaul's A writer's people. Ways of looking and feeling, a collection of autobiographical essays, which came out in the same year as the biography.

The history of Naipaul's authorship, from the humble beginnings, coming to London and start plodding at a career in writing are all meticulously described, in the right amount of detail for the reader to remain fully engaged. Coming from the perifery of empire, Naipaul had a difficult start to find his niche in British literature, and from thence develop into a world class writer. This was possible, as he gradually realized and turned towards his Indian roots, and wrote his first book about India, An Area of Darkness. This book is a very direct, frontal attack on India, describing the country in such negative terms that it was banned.

According to French, the great strength of Naipaul is that he developed an entirely personal style, and with forceful callousness vent his opinion or view on anything, particularly in racial and post-colonial matters. Thus, Naipaul made himself eyed suspiciously by people from developing countries all over the world, as he bluntly exposed the way many immigrants, and former colonial people pay lip service to independence, but blame former colonizers for their own weaknesses and corruption, relinquishing their responsibility behind a smoke screen of victimhood. This was an unheard of view, particularly in the 1960s, when academia began embracing and pampering all abused minorities.

Long before the desastrous developments at the turn of the century, V.S. Naipaul turned to study Islam, and noticed the sprouting of Moslem fundamentalism, in several travelogues he wrote, exploring the Moslem diaspora in South and Southeast Asia.

Readers who can separate the man from his work, will find The world is what it is. The authorized biography of V.S. Naipaul a very biography. The description of the development of his literary oevre, shows Naipaul as a visionary, in terms of authorship, a man ahead of his time, perhaps even by such a great measure that the ultimate significance of his work is still not clear to contemporary readers. ( )
1 ääni edwinbcn | Jan 4, 2015 |
Al voordat V.S. Naipaul in 2001 de Nobelprijs voor literatuur won werd hij beschouwd als een van de belangrijkste hedendaagse Engelstalige auteurs. In hoeverre die reputatie terecht is kan ik moeilijk beoordelen, daarvoor heb ik er te weinig gelezen. Wel vind ik de boeken van Naipaul en dan met name zijn laatste boek over India en zijn twee boeken over de Moslimwereld zeer de moeite waard.
Je kunt een biografie om twee redenen lezen: vanwege degene om wie de biografie draait en vanwege degene die de biografie geschreven heeft. Deze biografie is uitvoerig, bespreekt alle boeken van Naipaul en gaat uitgebreid op zijn liefdesleven in. Toch kon het mij maar matig boeien. Lang niet van het niveau van andere biografieën zoals die van Roland Huntford over Nansen, Shackleton en Scott en Amundsen, Nicolas Shakespeare over Chatwin, Michael Asher over Wilfred Thesiger.
Naipaul schaar ik als schrijver ongeveer in het volgende rijtje: Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Ryszard Kapucinski, Gabriel Garcia Marquez en Nagieb Mahfoez. Allemaal zeer grote schrijvers, maar voor mij niet behorend tot de toptien. ( )
1 ääni erikscheffers | Apr 30, 2011 |
Unpretentious and yet fascinating as the world of a brilliant, small son of Indian migrants comes to terms - or does he? - with the world as he sees it. Not only does it open windows to the old colonial times, but also to Indian and specifically Hindu culture outside the subcontinent. The personal interactions amongst the strong women amongst his forebears [probably dishonored Brahmin folk, who try to get by outside the system]. The biographer manages to take up the Naipaul's novels convincingly and makes for a enchanting read.
One things Patrick French works out very well is how hard it is to be a writer and that it takes tremendous discipline to do the one thing that really counts in this regard: "To write well." He mastery of English, his unique way of looking at things and then perhaps his outrages views [politically not correct one little bit!] all make for a stimulating read - that's for sure and I think its helpful to come to terms with ones prejudices and other preconceived ideologies. ( )
  Wilhelm_Weber | Apr 9, 2011 |
Vidiadhar Surajprasad (V.S.) Naipaul (1932-), the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature, is one of the most highly regarded authors of the 20th century. He was born in Trinidad, and his ancestors were part of the Indian migration to this Caribbean island in the 19th century. He was awarded a scholarship to Oxford in 1950, where he met his wife, the former Patricia Hale. After his graduation he dedicated his life to becoming a writer, and was financially supported by Pat during his early years of struggle and poverty. He met with critical success starting with his first two novels, The Mystic Masseur (1957) and Miguel Street (1959), and he received international acclaim for A House for Mr. Biswas, his 1961 novel which is arguably his best. All of these novels were based in the Indian community of Trinidad that was familiar to him from childhood, and Mr. Biswas is a fictionalized representation of his father.

In the early 1960s, due to disillusionment with life in England, he began to travel abroad, and his later fiction, travelogues, and historical accounts were based in these countries, which included Trinidad and other Caribbean nations, India, Argentina, Uganda and Kenya. He cast a critical and unblinking eye upon the developing world; his books and magazine articles were applauded in Europe and the US, but former friends and colleagues from these lands viewed his work with disdain and a sense of betrayal. His notable later works in this middle period include In a Free State, the winner of the 1971 Booker Prize, India: A Wounded Civilization (1977), A Bend in the River (1979), and Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981).

He finally achieved financial success in the 1980s, and he continued to be a productive and controversial writer in this later period. His most notable works were The Enigma of Arrival (1987) and India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990).

Pat died of breast cancer in 1996, and very soon afterward he married Nadira, a journalist from Pakistan that he met while Pat was terminally ill. His literary output since Patricia's death has been meager and mediocre, and he wrote his last novel, Magic Seeds, in 2004.

Patrick French, an award winning historian and biographer, was given full access to Mr. Naipaul and his papers and those of his first wife, and this extensively researched biography is the result. It follows 10 years after Paul Theroux's memoir Sir Vidia's Shadow, but French's book is more historically accurate and less personal than Theroux's work.

French describes Naipaul as a man who is a citizen of the world, but one who is lost in the places that he has called home. He was a member of the Indian minority in Trinidad, which became isolated from and polarized against its black majority, particularly after Eric Williams became the country's first prime minister after independence, and his relationships with his parents and siblings were distant and strained. He appeared to be most comfortable in England, but racism, a growing anti-immigrant sentiment and financial difficulty deeply affected and wounded him. He was even less comfortable in India, as he was unable to see the country's beauty and opportunity in the face of its crushing poverty and filth, a pattern that would be repeated in subsequent journeys to other countries. This is described in the first portion of the book, as French effectively portrays Naipaul as a sympathetic but difficult man, and demonstrates how this influenced his writing.

In keeping with his upbringing and rootlessness he was irascible and confrontational, and those closest to him, especially Pat, bore the brunt of his frequent tirades. Naipaul's career would not have been possible without Patricia, who tirelessly served him as a personal aide, confidant, and unpaid editor. However, he was not sexually attracted to her, and he began to seek satisfaction elsewhere, initially with prostitutes, and then in a long standing affair with Margaret Gooding, that destroyed Patricia's spirit once she became aware of it. French provides frequent examples of his dalliances and his difficult relationships throughout the second half of the book. Unfortunately, much of this section becomes gossipy and overly personal, and too many pages are spent in the description of Naipaul's affair.

The biography ends with Patricia's death in 1996, as Nadira moves in with Naipaul the day after the funeral.

The World Is What it Is is a richly detailed biography of Mr. Naipaul, as an author and a deeply flawed human being. The overemphasis on Naipaul's affairs and scandalous personal behavior in the second half of the book was a distraction, which added little to our understanding of the man. I would highly recommend this for those who are interested in Naipaul, but only marginally for everyone else. ( )
5 ääni kidzdoc | Jun 16, 2010 |
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This authorized study of Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul examines his difficult early life as a child of Indian parents in colonial Trinidad, his Oxford education, the depression that marked his life in England, his complex personal life and romantic relationships, and his pursuit of becoming a great writer.

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