V.S. Naipaul, according to one recent review, is a writer “endlessly showing an unclosable wound.” From that metaphorical wound have flowed half a century of stories, comic, tragic, real and imagined. When the Nobel Prize Committee called Naipaul’s number last month, he was at his home in the English countryside. But alive in the committee’s mind were Naipaul’s depictions of his native Trinidad, his stories of a struggling Third World writer in the fickle First World.
His narratives of America, Africa, India and the places in-between. And it’s that in-between, where identity is confusion, where Empire and its victims loom large, that Naipaul continues to explore and explain.
V.S. Naipaul, author of more than twenty books, most recently the novel “Half a Life,” and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature.