V. S. Naipaul Long Fiction Analysis
“The novel is my main delight,” V. S. Naipaul has asserted, although in a brief prefatory note to “The Return of Eva Perón” with “The Killings in Trinidad” (1980) he admits that when a novel fails to emerge, he travels and turns to nonfiction. In India: A Wounded Civilization, Naipaul calls the novel a form of social inquiry, and in An Area of Darkness he insists that it must respond to the here-and-now conditions of humanity. He equates the novel in its finest form to truth. Such comments shed light on his artistry.
Growing up in the multiracial, multireligious society of Trinidad, with migrants from four continents, Naipaul was a part of a joint Hindu family: rigid, clannish, suffocating. An alien amid aliens, he observed that the various migrant groups, including his own, failed to maintain their own identities because they were uncertain about what truly constituted those identities and either remained ignorant of their cultural backgrounds or conjured up romantic fantasies about the past. When their ethnic identities eluded them, they often rejected their pasts and aped their colonial masters, acquiring in the process a hodgepodge of pseudo-Westernization. Ganesh Ramsumair in The Mystic Masseur is a classic example; East Indian by tradition, Trinidadian by birth, he champions Hinduism, but when that fails, he swings to the other extreme, changing his name to G. Ramsay Muir, Esq., M.B.E., and completely...
(The entire section is 4360 words.)
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