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Saturday, 17 May 2008

No proud native son

If the measure of a writer’s success is the ire he provokes, then V.S. Naipaul is a spectacular success in Trinidad.... “History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies,” Naipaul wrote in “The Middle Passage” (1962) -- the first sign that he wasn’t going to play the proud native son. A fresher wound came in 2001, when Naipaul omitted any mention of Trinidad from his initial press release after winning the Nobel Prize, which many here saw as a deliberate rebuff.

This weekend's New York Times Book Review includes an article by David Shaftel on Naipaul's often fraught relationship with the island of his birth--from his portrayal of Trinidad in his early books to the controversial events of his visit in 2007. In his piece Shaftel quotes no fewer than three people connected with the CRB: our frequent contributor Georgia Popplewell, the magazine's editor Jeremy Taylor, and (though Shaftel doesn't name him) our contributing editor Brendan de Caires, who reviewed Naipaul's latest book, A Writer's People, in our February 2008 issue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a vincentian living in New York, and has read the New York Times Review of Books article on V.S.Naipaul, May 17th, 2008. I am an avid reader and has read some of V.S.Naipaul's works. I do admire his writings. However, his disgruntled attitude towards other writers, and his unprovoked criticisms of the Caribbean, and Caribbean culture; India, and Indian culture are uncalled for and is absolutely repugnant. Mr. Naipaul has now achieved fame through his writings, but, the fact of the matter remained that he was born in Trinidad, he is of Indian descent, and those are what he cannot deny. He wished he was born of caucasian ancestry, preferably British (of the noble birth). Let him riled, let him railed against the whole world, he is nothing but an unhappy and unsypathetic combination of confusion of the mind. Should he be shunned by the literary world, his Noble Prize would worth him nought.