During forty years of travel, V. S. Naipaul has created a wide-ranging body of work, an exceptional and sustained meditation on our world. Now his finest pieces of reflection and reportage -- many of which have been unavailable for some time -- are collected in one volume. With an abiding faith in modernity balanced by a sense of wonder about the ...
During forty years of travel, V. S. Naipaul has created a wide-ranging body of work, an exceptional and sustained meditation on our world. Now his finest pieces of reflection and reportage -- many of which have been unavailable for some time -- are collected in one volume. With an abiding faith in modernity balanced by a sense of wonder about the past, Naipaul has explored an astonishing variety of societies and peoples through the prism of his experience. Whether writing about Indian mutinies and despair, Mobutu's mad reign in Zaire, or the New York mayoral elections, he demonstrates time and again that no one has a shrewder intuition of the ways in which the world works. Infused with a deeply felt humanism, The Writer and the World attests powerfully not only to Naipaul's status as the great English prose stylist of our time but also to his keen, often prophetic, understanding. 'All [of these essays] are worth reading (and rereading), both for the contemporary and historical information and insight they artfully impart and for what they tell us about a uniquely complex writer' Spectator 'How few writers there are, if any, who share his sense of mission and moral authority, who have his willingness to learn and to travel and his miraculous gift of language.' Observer
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-05-16 The election campaign is a recurring theme in this comprehensive collection of essays spanning four decades and scattered about the globe: India, Zaire, Grenada, Anguilla, the Americas. Civilization's sharpest tool for self-determination serves as familiar backdrop against which Naipaul, with a robust sense of wonder, examines more ancient yet persistent methods of human interaction ritual, magic, myth, prophecy, clans and castes. The Nobel laureate also tackles U.S. politics, from Norman Mailer's 1969 campaign for mayor of New York City to the surreal and religion-amped 1984 Republican National Convention where the wheels of the image-making machine are in constant motion. Through tenacious yet unobtrusive reportage, Naipaul deconstructs the mythologized among them Eva Peron, Mobutu Sese Seko, John Steinbeck, Eldridge Cleaver, the American Dream and how progress falters in the face of ritualism and single-mindedness. Revolutionary movements often fall prey to these, and Naipaul analyzes those derailments, particularly in postcolonial society. While some of his travelogues date back to the early 1960s, they nonetheless seem fresh, speaking to Naipaul's astute and prescient powers of observation. He uncovers the universal in his subjects: the confrontation between East and West, the tension between old and new, between creators and consumers, the nature of power. A champion of the individual and one of civilization's ardent faithful, Naipaul offers his own exilic heritage and literary experience as an example of modernity's prowess. He is indeed a master stylist, his prose precise and fresh. Yet always beating below the words is a true and tender heart. Densely researched with an omniscient touch, some of Naipaul's meditations are more accessible than others, which may, at times, hinder demystification of the man many consider to be the greatest living writer in the English language. (Aug. 17) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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