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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Stabroek on Naipaul

Long live the Stabroek News, the only newspaper in the Caribbean that runs editorials in the form of book reviews. From today's edition, on the new Naipaul:

Naipaul ... rescued himself from the clutches of 'island "culture"' by writing his way into the tradition of the English novel--with enviable grace and humour, it must be said. He presented the pathetic lives of these small people with simple destinies so powerfully that it has often become difficult to tell where his malevolence ends and our insecurities begin. Walcott chose a different, arguably more difficult way of seeing. He teased a past out of these provincial characters, housed them in something more than ruins of a colonial past. He considered them, and the cultures that had left them behind, synoptically, illuminating one literary tradition through his mastery of another. He created a past that all of us can enter and consider, one that allows us to reinterpret ourselves, and to come to terms with our legacies rather than simply escape them. For many West Indians that is an achievement that deserves more than a snide misreading from our other Nobel laureate.

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