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The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaulby Patrick French
Synopses & Reviews
Since V. S. Naipaul left his Caribbean birthplace at the age of seventeen, his improbable life has followed the global movement of peoples, whose preeminent literary chronicler he has become. In The World Is What It Is, Patrick French offers the first authoritative biography of the controversial Nobel laureate, whose only stated ambition was greatness as a writer, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred.
Beginning with a richly detailed portrait of Naipaul’s childhood in colonial Trinidad, French gives us the boy born to an Indian family, the displaced soul in a displaced community, who by dint of talent and ambition finds the only imaginable way out: a scholarship to Oxford. London in the 1950s offers hope and his first literary success, but homesickness and depression almost defeat Vidia, his narrow escape aided by Patricia Hale, an Englishwoman who will devote herself to his work and well-being. She will stand by him, sometimes tenuously, for more than four decades, even as Naipaul embarks on a twenty-four-year affair, which will awaken half-dead passions and feed perhaps his greatest wave of dizzying creativity. Amid this harrowing emotional life, French traces the course of the fierce visionary impulse underlying Naipaul’s singular power, a gift to produce masterpieces of fiction and nonfiction.
Informed by exclusive access to V. S. Naipaul’s private papers and personal recollections, and by great feeling for his formidable body of work, French’s revelatory biography does full justice to an enigmatic genius.
From the Hardcover edition.
An 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 its influence on the evolution of his literary work. 35,000 first printing.
The first major biography of V.S. Naipaul, the controversial and enigmatic Nobel laureate: a stunning writer whose only stated ambition was greatness, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred.
Beginning in rich detail in Trinidad, where Naipaul was born into an Indian family, Patrick French skillfully examines Naipaul's life within a displaced community and his fierce ambition atschool. He describes how, on scholarship at Oxford, homesickness and depression struck with great force; the ways in which Naipaul's first wife helped him to cope and their otherwise fraught marriage; andNaipaul's struggles throughout subsequent uncertainties in England, including his twenty-five-year-long affair.
Naipaul's extraordinary gift-producing, uniquely, masterpieces of both fiction and nonfiction-is most of all born of a forceful, visionary impulse, whose roots French traces with a sympathetic brilliance and devastatinginsight.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Patrick French was born in England in 1966 and studied literature at Edinburgh University. He is the author of Younghusband, Liberty or Death and Tibet, Tibet, and is a winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award.
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