The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul
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 fie ...more
Here's how good Patrick French is: I knew exactly, exactly what was going to happen in the last twenty pages, because French had defined Naipaul's character so indelibly by that point. Yet those twenty pages still managed to draw tears.
French has assembled an amazing book: meticulous reporting, gripping writing, and one of the most fascinating writers' lives I've ever looked into this deeply. Readers w ...more
I have yet to broach the personal life of Vidia. Not to wax sensationalist, I couldn’t make up this shit.
Goodish Writers, Bad-ish Men.
We have many goodish writers in this country, but few great ones, and V.S. Naipaul is a great writer." - A.N. Wilson
Everyone knows one thing about the life of Charles Dickens: the trauma of his childhood stung him into bestsellerdom. The 12-year-old boy whose parents were imprisoned for debt and who toiled in Warren's ...more
The purely literary difficulties are compounded by the ...more
A writer is what he is
The writer has laboured much to bring out the biography of a writer who has written autobiographical fiction besides his travel books all his life. Naipaul seem to have always lived a life of poverty, as given in this book too. He is often bailed out by BBC or other British institution when he was about to sink financially, once he is out of Oxford. Spendthrift and whore-monger, he is in trouble perpetually. So he worked in close association with British establishment, it a ...more
I feel sympathy for him, also. He is a skinny little black man who made his way in a big white man's ...more
August -- OK, I am still reading this. It's very rich and -- for me -- needs to be ingested in doses. Lots of heavy stuff about Naipaul's twisted relationship with the Argentina woman, sad stuff about his wife Pat (which makes me both frustrated about her and sympathetic), etc.
But what impressed me most about the book is how French succeeded in making Naipaul into a c ...more
Vidia Naipaul emerges as a very complicated persona - narcissistic, intellectually brilliant, insensitive, original thinker, selfish and honest. In his own words, Naipaul wr ...more
In the end what I learned is that Naipaul, one of my favorite writers (read A Bend in the River), is really a jerk. He's self-absorbed, masochistic (internally and at times, sexually), re ...more
Reviewers were mostly astounded that such a good writer as V. S. Naipaul could be such a horrible person. Though he has always been known as prickly, critics seemed to compete for new adjectives to describe the man who emerges in this book. Michael Dirda's list: "whiney, narcissistic, insulting, needy, callous, impolite, cruel, vengeful, indecisive, miserly, exploitative, snobbish, sadistic, self-pitying and ungrateful." Patrick French, by contrast, earned quite positive labels for his well-writ...more
Indeed, Naipaul comes of a little like Celine; a great writer and a terrible person.
As I read it, it made me want to go back a reread some of my favorite Naipaul books--A House for Mr. B ...more
Check my Austin Chronicle review here:
French is the author of several books including : Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer (1994), a biography of Francis Younghusband, The World Is What It Is (2008), an authorized biography of Nobel Laureate V.S Nai ...more