What is the genre of V. S. Naipaul's work titled Miguel Street?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

V. S. Naipaul’s work Miguel Street is usually classified as a novel, although the eNotes study guide about this text begins with a paragraph that explains why there might be some potential confusion concerning the book’s genre:

Miguel Street has been variously classified as a group of short stories, as a series of sketches, and as a novel. The latter classification is supported by the fact that it is unified by a single narrator and by several patterns and themes. Furthermore, although each chapter is dominated by a single character, those major characters reappear as minor characters in other chapters. At the end of the book, all the characters who still live on Miguel Street gather to present to the narrator (who is departing for college) gifts representing their own attitudes toward life. Thus, the narratives are tied together, justifying the label “novel.”

The book is usually called (and discussed as) a novel by critics (as a quick check of Google Books will show), although it is interesting that Naipaul himself has allowed the book to be republished as part of his Collected Short Fiction (see Google link below).