Synopses & Reviews
Willie Chandran is a man who has allowed one identity after another to be thrust upon him. In his early forties, after a peripatetic life, he succumbs to the encouragement of his sister - and his own listlessness - and joins an underground movement in India. But years of revolutionary campaigns and then prison convince him that the revolution 'had nothing to do with what we were fighting for', and he feels himself further than ever 'from his own history.'
When he returns to Britain where, thirty years before, his wanderings began, Willie encounters a country that has turned its back on its past and, like him, has become detached from its own history. He endures the indignities of a culture dissipated by reform and compromise until, in a moment of grotesque revelation - a tour de force of parodic savagery from our most visionary of writers - Willie comes to an understanding that might finally allow him to release his true self.
Praise for Magic Seeds:
'Original, ruthlessly honest, intellectually stimulating and masterfully written' The Times
'A radical further step in one of the great imaginative careers of our time . . . Magic Seeds demands our attention, and nothing more authoritative will be published this year' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph
'Spare, concentrated and always capable of breaking out into extraordinary flashes of sympathy, awareness, and insight' D. J. Taylor, Literary Review
From V.S. Naipaul, comes a searing new novel about identity and idealism, and their ability to shape or destroy us. Features Willy Chandran, whom we first met in "Half A Life".
A stunning novel of the present moment that takes us into the hearts and minds of those who use terrorism as an ideal and a way of life, and those who aspire to the frightening power of wealth.
Abandoning a life he felt was not his own, Willie Chandran (the hero of Half a Life) moves to Berlin where his sister's radical political awakening inspires him to join a liberation movement in India. There, in the jungles and dirt-poor small villages, through months of secrecy and night marches, Willie -- a solitary, inward man -- discovers both the idealism and brutality of guerilla warfare. When he finally escapes the movement, he is imprisoned for the murder of three policemen. Released unexpectedly on condition he return to England, he attempts to climb back into life in the West, but his experience of wealth, love and despair in London only bedevils him further.
Magic Seeds is a moving tale of a man searching for his life and fearing he has wasted it, and a testing study of the conflicts between the rich and the poor, and the struggles within each. Its spare, elegant prose sizzles with devastating psychological analysis, bleak humour and astonishing characters. Only V. S. Naipaul could have written a novel so attuned to the world and so much a challenge to it.
From the Hardcover edition.