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Between Father and Son: Family Letters

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  13 reviews
At seventeen, V.S. Naipaul wanted to "follow no other profession" but writing. Awarded a scholarship by the Trinidadian government, he set out to attend Oxford, where he was encountered a vastly different world from the one he yearned to leave behind. Separated from his family by continents, and grappling with depression, financial strain, loneliness, and dislocation, "Vi ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 13th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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Though it might not be for others, for me it is deeply moving and unbearably stirring. I suppose identify too much of it. Almost weep reading all those tender incredibly insightful exchanges; how a father and son , with no lineage to speak of, recognise each other's intellect and conspire in these letters to jump ahead by two generations all on their own. Cant write more. Shit.
I read this book when I didn't even know the word 'postcolonial' had anything to do with English Literature. Up to today I have not managed - and I am very sad about it - to read any fictional work by V.S.Naipaul. Judging from this book though, I am convinced his work is great. This book showed me a becoming writer who was already capable of such great writing and narration that I was drawn into this book from the very beginning. It is not just a volume of letters between father and son, but it ...more
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Nina Sankovitch reviewed Between Father and Son: Family Letters on

How a Novelist’s Letters Reveal the Soul of His Characters by Nina Sankovitch

Nina Sankovitch is the acclaimed author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. She is also a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. She received a law degree from Harvard Law School and worked as an environmental lawyer before she began writing professionally. She is married with five children, and three cats, and lives in Connecticut.

Suzanne Bhagan
Perhaps the title is a misnomer. This book instead documents letters connecting the Naipaul family across oceans and continents -Vidia in Oxford, Pa and the family in Port of Spain and Kamla in Benares.

The letters themselves are quite frank and reveal much of Naipaul's personality and his relationship towards his parents and siblings.

Young Vidia or "Vido" appears the typical colonial Oxford student - reading piles of dead authors' work, attempting to lure the ladies, writing short stories, host
I found it interesting that so many more people rated this book more highly that Naipaul's novels. Perhaps it is because we get a glimpse behind the grumpy, cynical facade so often presented in his typical novels. The exchange of correspondence between Naipaul and his dad illustrates much of the fears , hopes and observations that shaped who he would become.

As a native of Trinidad and an aspiring writer, I found an early fascination with Naipaul's work but recognized that the island had changed
Ana Maria Feito
After Alice Munro was awarded with the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, I came across "Between Father and Son" from V. S. Naipaul, another Nobel Prize winner. From his work, this particular title caught my attention, the relation between father and son is an interesting one. I was really curious to see how the father/son relation emerged through their letters. What I found was a great read with the story of V.S. Naipaul when he emigrates to Britain. I loved seeing how much more open minded he was ...more
Ismael Flores Vargas
"Estoy convencido de que los escritores escriben porque quieren escribir."

Leer la correspondencia de alguien más siempre ha sido algo tentador. ¡Cuánto más debe ser leer la correspondencia de un Nobel en ciernes!

Personalmente no he tenido el placer (me atrevo a adelantarlo) de leer una novela de Naipaul. Pero sin duda agregaré El Sanador Místico y The Adventures of Gurudeva (de su padre) a la lista de próximas lecturas.

Mientras más leo literatura epistolar más me convenzo de que fue (es?) el med
I must say this has been an eye opener for me, the love in the letters, and the relationship the son had with each of this parents, especially his father, and siblings.
I didn't know of have read any of the author's works before so I quite enjoyed learning about him and his family first.
Well worth reading book.
Greg Brozeit
Of all of Naipaul's work, this might be the most personal and touching. By becoming a writer, he fulfills his father's dream and ambition. The collections of letters plus Naipaul's additional writing are pure prose with poetic touch. It is a book that can be reread many times.
Helen Rickards
Loved this book, a collection of open honest letters between family members. Will read his books now!
T Huang
A good companion for a foreign student from a country which had been colonized.
Ruby Sudoyo
Letters Between a Father and Son: Early Correspondence Between V.S.Naipaul and Family by V.S. Naipaul (1999)
Heerlijk boek over hoe iemand een schrijver wordt.
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Naipaul was born and raised in Trinidad, to which his grandfathers had emigrated from India as indentured servants. He is known for the wistfully comic early novels of Trinidad, the bleaker novels of a wider world remade by the passage of peoples, and the vigilant chronicles of his life and travels, all written in characteristic, widely admired, prose.

At 17, he won a Trinidad Government scholarshi
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