En Al límite de la fe, Naipaul se interna en cuatro países -Indonesia, Pakistán, Irán y Malaisia- conversos al islam, pero no árabes. Como en otras obras del autor, la narración puede considerarse tanto libro de viajes como de relatos, en los que se entrelazan personajes y situaciones para formar un escenario fascinante. Según palabras del propio Naipaul, no se trata de un libro de opinión, sino sobre personas, lo cual no le impide manifestar con toda claridad su postura desfavorable hacia el integrismo islámico, si bien lo hace con la mirada a la vez fría y cálida de quien, más que juzgar, desea observar y conocer."Una punzante y devastadora radiografía del mundo islámico."Revista de Libros
Naipaul's controversial account of his travels through the Islamic world, hailed by The New Republic as "the most notable work on contemporary Islam to have appeared in a very long time."From the Trade Paperback edition.
THE FIRST BOOK IN V. S. NAIPAUL'S ACCLAIMED INDIAN TRILOGY An Area of Darknessis V. S. Naipaul's semi-autobiographical account - at once painful and hilarious, but always thoughtful and considered - of his first visit to India, the land of his forebears. He was twenty-nine years old; he stayed for a year. From the moment of his inauspicious arrival in Prohibition-dry Bombay, bearing whisky and cheap brandy, he experienced a cultural estrangement from the subcontinent. It became for him a land of myths, an area of darkness closing up behind him as he travelled . . . The experience was not a pleasant one, but the pain the author suffered was creative rather than numbing, and engendered a masterful work of literature that provides a revelation both of India and of himself: a displaced person who paradoxically possesses a stronger sense of place than almost anyone. 'Brilliant' Observer 'A masterpiece of travel-writing' Paul Theroux 'His narrative skill is spectacular. ' The Times
A classic of modern travel writing, "An Area of Darkness" is Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul's profound reckoning with his ancestral homeland and an extraordinarily perceptive chronicle of his first encounter with India. Traveling from the bureaucratic morass of Bombay to the ethereal beauty of Kashmir, from a sacred ice cave in the Himalayas to an abandoned temple near Madras, Naipaul encounters a dizzying cross-section of humanity: browbeaten government workers and imperious servants, a suavely self-serving holy man and a deluded American religious seeker. "An Area of Darkness" also abounds with Naipaul's strikingly original responses to India's paralyzing caste system, its apparently serene acceptance of poverty and squalor, and the conflict between its desire for self-determination and its nostalgia for the British raj. The result may be the most elegant and passionate book ever written about the subcontinent.
This novel by a winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature takes us deeply into the life of one man who comes to live in an isolated African town at the bend of a great river, a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own traditions.
V. S. Naipaul is perhaps the most famous émigré writer since Vladimir Nabokov, and though he always spoke and wrote English, his self-imposed exile to England from his native Trinidad represented a cultural shift as profound as learning to think in another language. In this moving, novel-like correspondence, we witness the great writer's early transformation from an expatriate adrift to a world-renowned man of letters. The letters collected here illuminate with unalloyed candor the relationship between a sacrificing father and his determined son as they encourage each other to persevere with their writing. For though his father's literary aspirations would go unrealized, Naipaul's triumphant career would ultimately vindicate his beloved mentor's legacy.
"Brilliant. . . . A powerfully observed, stylistically elegant exploration." --The New York TimesA New York Times Notable Book of the Year"The book's strength lies in Naipaul's extraordinary ability as a storyteller to draw striking portraits of a cross section of individuals."--The Boston GlobeFourteen years after the publication of his landmark travel narrative Among the Believers, V. S. Naipaul returned to the four non-Arab Islamic countries he reported on so vividly at the time of Ayatollah Khomeini's triumph in Iran. Beyond Belief is the result of his five-month journey in 1995 through Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia--lands where descendants of Muslim converts live at odds with indigenous traditions, and where dreams of Islamic purity clash with economic and political realities.In extended conversations with a vast number of people--a rare survivor of the martyr brigades of the Iran-Iraq war, a young intellectual training as a Marxist guerilla in Baluchistan, an impoverished elderly couple in Teheran whose dusty Baccarat chandeliers preserve the memory of vanished wealth, and countless others--V. S. Naipaul deliberately effaces himself to let the voices of his subjects come through. Yet the result is a collection of stories that has the author's unmistakable stamp. With its incisive observation and brilliant cultural analysis, Beyond Belief is a startling and revelatory addition to the Naipaul canon."Highly accomplished. . . . Another display of Naipaul's remarkable talent." --The Independent (London)
Islam is an Arab religion, and it makes imperial Arabizing demands on its converts. In this way it is more than a private faith, and it can become a neurosis. What has this Arab Islam done to the histories of these converted countries? How do the converted peoples, non-Arabs, view their past -- and their future? In a follow-up to "Among the Believers", his classic account of his travels through these countries, V. S. Naipaul returns after seventeen years to find out how and what the converted preach. In Indonesia he finds a pastoral people who have lost their history through a confluence of Islam and technology. In Iran he discovers a religious tyranny as oppressive as the secular one of the Shah, and he meets people weary of the religious rules that govern every aspect of their lives. Pakistan -- in a tragic realization of a Muslim re-creation fantasy -- inherited blood feuds, rotting palaces, antique cruelty; then President Zia installed religious terror with $100 million of Saudi money. In Malaysia, the Muslim Youth organization is alive and growing, and the people are mentally, physically, and geographically torn between two worlds, struggling to live the impossible dream of a true faith born out of a spiritual vacancy. A startling and revelatory addition to the Naipaul canon, "Beyond Belief" confirms the author's reputation as a masterly observer, a "finder-out" of stories, as well as a magnificent teller of them.
For the first time: the Nobel Prize winner's stunning short fiction collected in one volume, with an introduction by the author.Over the course of his distinguished career, V. S. Naipaul has written a remarkable array of short fiction that moves from Trinidad to London to Africa. Here are the stories from his Somerset Maugham Award-winning Miguel Street, in which he takes us into a derelict corner of Trinidad's capital to meet, among others, Man-Man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion. The tales in A Flag on the Island, meanwhile, roam from a Chinese bakery in Trinidad to a rooming house in London. And in the celebrated title story from the Booker Prize- winning In a Free State, an English couple traveling in an unnamed African country discover, under a veneer of civilization, a landscape of squalor and ethnic bloodletting.No writer has rendered our postcolonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face.From the Hardcover edition.
The story of a writer's singular journey--from one place to another, from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England, and from one state of mind to another--this is perhaps Naipaul's most autobiographical work. Yet it is also woven through with remarkable invention to make it a rich and complex novel.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Finding The Center" is an autobiographical account of the literary beginnings and the imaginative promptings of Naipaul's many-sided background. The two personal narrative pieces that make up "Finding the Center" were written one after the other -- both pieces are about the process of writing for this notably controversial writer and seek to reveal his motivations and inspiration.
An anthology of short stories by V.S. Naipaul. The stories are told in Naipaul's voice colored by his unique perception of the Caribbean as an Asian living in an environment populated by people of African descent.
Set on a troubled Caribbean island - where Asians, Africans, Americans and former British colonials co-exist in a state of suppressed hysteria - Guerrillasis a novel of colonialism and revolution. A white man arrives with his mistress, an Englishwoman influenced by fantasies of native power and sexuality, unaware of the consequences of her actions. Together with a leader of the "revolution", they act out a gripping drama of death, sexual violence, and spiritual impotence. Guerrillas depicts a convulsion in public life, and ends in private violence. Place and people are evoked with an intensity unrivalled elsewhere. The novel comes with extraordinary force from the centre of a profound moral awareness of the world's plight. 'Impeccable prose, precise, austere, modulating always from place to people to dialogue with a fastidious reserve. Guerrillas seems to me Naipaul's Heart of Darkness: a brilliant artist's anatomy of emptiness, and of despair'Observer
In a narrative that moves with dreamlike swiftness from India to England to Africa, Nobel Laureate V. S. Naipaul has produced his finest novel to date, a bleakly resonant study of the fraudulent bargains that make up an identity.The son of a Brahmin ascetic and his lower-caste wife, Willie Chandran grows up sensing the hollowness at the core of his father's self-denial and vowing to live more authentically. That search takes him to the immigrant and literary bohemias of 1950s London, to a facile and unsatisfying career as a writer, and at last to a decaying Portugese colony in East Africa, where he finds a happiness he will then be compelled to betray. Brilliantly orchestrated, at once elegiac and devastating in its portraits of colonial grandeur and pretension, Half a Life represents the pinnacle of Naipaul's career.From the Trade Paperback edition.r home in Africa, to live, until the last doomed days of colonialism, yet another life not his own.In a luminous narrative that takes us across three continents, Naipaul explores his great theme of inheritance with an intimacy and directness unsurpassed in his extraordinary body of work. And even as he lays bare the bitter comical ironies of assumed identities, he gives us a poignant spectacle of the enervation peculiar to a borrowed life. In one man's determined refusal of what he has been given to be, Naipaul reveals the way of all our experience. As Willie comes to see, "Everything goes on a bias. The world should stop, but it goes on." A masterpiece of economy and emotional nuance, Half a Life is an indelible feat of the imagination.From the Hardcover edition.
The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul's brilliant career, A House for Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul's father that has been hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels. In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous--and endless--struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.
Winner of the 1971 Booker Prize, this grouping of two stories -- a short novel within a prologue and an epilogue from Naipaul's travel journals -- is held together by Naipaul's pervading concern with the themes of exile, freedom and prejudice.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1975, at the height of Indira Gandhi's "Emergency," V. S. Naipaul returned to India, the country his ancestors had left one hundred years earlier. Out of that journey he produced this concise masterpiece: a vibrant, defiantly unsentimental portrait of a society traumatized by centuries of foreign conquest and immured in a mythic vision of its past.Drawing on novels, news reports, political memoirs, and his own encounters with ordinary Indians-from a supercilious prince to an engineer constructing housing for Bombay's homeless-Naipaul captures a vast, mysterious, and agonized continent inaccessible to foreigners and barely visible to its own people. He sees both the burgeoning space program and the 5,000 volunteers chanting mantras to purify a defiled temple; the feudal village autocrat and the Naxalite revolutionaries who combined Maoist rhetoric with ritual murder. Relentless in its vision, thrilling in the keenness of its prose, India: A Wounded Civilization is a work of astonishing insight and candor.From the Trade Paperback edition.
THE SECOND BOOK IN V. S. NAIPAUL'S ACCLAIMED INDIAN TRILOGY In 1964 V. S. Naipaul published An Area of Darkness, his semi-autobiographical account of a year in India. Two visits later, prompted by the Emergency of 1975, he came to write India: A Wounded Civilization. In this work he casts a more analytical eye than before over Indian attitudes, while recapitulating and further probing the feelings aroused in him by this vast, mysterious, and agonized country. What he saw and heard - evoked so superbly and vividly in these pages - reinforced in him a conviction that India, wounded by a thousand years of foreign rule, has not yet found an ideology of regeneration. A work of fierce candour and precision, it is also a generous description of one man's complicated relationship with the country of his ancestors. 'A devastating work, but proof that a novelist of Naipaul's stature can often define problems quicker and more effectively than a team of economists and other experts' The Times 'It is a long and angry stare at the obvious; it is humbling . . . because it seems chasteningly right' New Statesman 'Brilliant' Spectator
A rich collection of essays on reading, writing, and identity from our finest writer in English, V. S. Naipaul. Literary Occasions charts more than half a century of personal enquiry into the mysteries of written expression, and of fiction in particular.Literary Occasions brings together some true gems of literary criticism and personal reflection. Reflecting on the full scope of his career, V. S. Naipaul takes us through his beginnings as a writer: his boyhood experiences of reading books and his first efforts at writing them; the early glimmers and evolution of ideas about the proper relations of particular literary forms to particular cultures and identities; and his father's influence, revealed in an intriguing preface to the only book he ever published.These moving and thoughtful pieces are accompanied by Naipaul's profound and severe discussions of other authors, including his signal essay on Conrad, and the classic "Indian Autobiographies." The collection is completed by "Two Worlds," the magnificent Nobel Address, in which Naipaul considers the indivisibility of the literary and the personal.Sustained by extraordinary powers of expression and thought, Literary Occasions is both a subtle recollection of Naipaul's past, and the only available organized statement of his literary ideas. A valuable companion to last year's The Writer and the World, this is an essential volume from a man who has devoted his life to the written word.From the Hardcover edition.
Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul brings his signature gifts of observation, his ferocious impatience with received truths, and his masterfully condensed prose to these eleven essays on reading, writing, and identity--which have been brought together for the first time. Here the subject is Naipaul's literary evolution: the books that delighted him as a child; the books he wrote as a young man; the omnipresent predicament of trying to master an essentially metropolitan, imperial art form as an Asian colonial from a New World plantation island. He assesses Joseph Conrad, the writer most frequently cited as his forebear, and, in his celebrated Nobel Lecture, "Two Worlds," traces the full arc of his own career. Literary Occasions is an indispensable addition to the Naipaul oeuvre, penetrating, elegant, and affecting.
The history of Trinidad begins with a delusion: the sixteenth century belief that somewhere nearby on the South American mainland lay the fabulous kingdom of El Dorado. Two centuries of multinational intrigue followed, personified in the rivalled quest for the mythical kingdom of gold between the aging conquistador Antonio de Berrio and Sir Walter Ralegh, and culminating in the brutal stewardship of Thomas Picton, the English governor put on trial for the torture of a fourteen-year-old mulatto girl. Relating this labyrinthine story with clarity and novelistic drama, V. S. Naipaul accomplishes an unparalleled feat of historical writing.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Willie Chandran is a man who has allowed one identity after another to be thrust upon him. In his early forties, after a peripatetic life, he succumbs to the encouragement of his sister - and his own listlessness - and joins an underground movement in India. But years of revolutionary campaigns and then prison convince him that the revolution 'had nothing to do with what we were fighting for', and he feels himself further than ever 'from his own history. ' When he returns to Britain where, thirty years before, his wanderings began, Willie encounters a country that has turned its back on its past and, like him, has become detached from its own history. He endures the indignities of a culture dissipated by reform and compromise until, in a moment of grotesque revelation - a tour de force of parodic savagery from our most visionary of writers - Willie comes to an understanding that might finally allow him to release his true self. Praise for Magic Seeds: 'Original, ruthlessly honest, intellectually stimulating and masterfully written' The Times 'A radical further step in one of the great imaginative careers of our time . . . Magic Seedsdemands our attention, and nothing more authoritative will be published this year' Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph 'Spare, concentrated and always capable of breaking out into extraordinary flashes of sympathy, awareness, and insight' D. J. Taylor, Literary Review
Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul's magnificent Magic Seeds continues the story of Willie Chandran, the perennially dissatisfied and self-destructively naive protagonist of his bestselling Half a Life.Having left a wife and a livelihood in Africa, Willie is persuaded to return to his native India to join an underground movement on behalf of its oppressed lower castes. Instead he finds himself in the company of dilettantes and psychopaths, relentlessly hunted by police and spurned by the people he means to liberate. But this is only one stop in a quest for authenticity that takes in all the fanaticism and folly of the postmodern era. Moving with dreamlike swiftness from guerrilla encampment to prison cell, from the squalor of rural India to the glut and moral desolation of 1980s London, Magic Seeds is a novel of oracular power, dazzling in its economy and unblinking in its observations.From the Trade Paperback edition.
«Para mis libros de viajes viajo alrededor de un tema. Y el tema de La máscara de África son las creencias africanas. Comienzo en Uganda, en el centro del continente, voy a Ghana y a Nigeria, a Costa de Marfil y a Gabón, y acabo en el extremo meridional del continente, en Suráfrica. Mi tema son las creencias, no la vida política o económica, y, sin embargo, en el ese extremo del continente las realidades políticas son tan abrumadoras que no pueden obviarse. Quizá un aspecto tácito de mis indagaciones fuera comprobar si existía la posibilidad de subvertir la vieja África con los métodos del mundo exterior. El tema tuvo validez hasta que llegué al sur, donde el choque entre las dos maneras de pensar y creer se volvió demasiado parcial. Los rascacielos de Johannesburgo no se erigían sobre arena. El mundo más antiguo de la magia daba sensación de fragilidad, pero al mismo tiempo poseía una cualidad de perdurabilidad. Uno podía sentir que sobreviviría a cualquier desastre. Yo esperaba que las prácticas mágicas variaran significativamente en la gran extensión de África. Pero no fue así. En todas partes, los adivinos querían "tirar los huesos" para interpretar el futuro, y la idea de la "energía", a la que se accedía mediante el sacrificio ritual de partes del cuerpo, era una constante. Ser testigo de ello, hacerse una idea de su poder, significaba retroceder hasta los inicios de todo. Llegar a esos inicios era el propósito de mi libro.» V.S. Naipaul
Like all of Naipaul's "travel" books, "The Masque of Africa" encompasses a much larger narrative and purpose: to judge the effects of belief upon the progress of civilization.
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