Form and Content
V. S. Naipaul is known primarily as the author of a series of widely acclaimed novels set in the Caribbean or in other postcolonial societies: The Mystic Masseur (1957), The Suffrage of Elvira (1958), Miguel Street (1959), A House for Mr. Biswas (1961), Guerrillas (1975), A Bend in the River (1979), and numerous others. He has also published extensively in other genres—the short story, the essay, history, and travel literature. In the last category, he has written mainly of his experiences in and his reactions to the Third World—for the most part, with profound skepticism and distaste.
Naipaul was born in Trinidad, his Hindu family having migrated there from northern India as part of that far-flung Indian diaspora which was one of the side effects of nearly two centuries of British rule in the Indian subcontinent. Reared in a British West Indian colony, Naipaul was exposed to a thoroughly Anglicizing education, which was completed at University College, University of Oxford, after which he embarked upon one of the most distinguished literary careers of the second half of the twentieth century. With his Indian ancestry, with his Trinidadian boyhood (“the mystery—Conradian word—of my own background: that island in the mouth of a great South American river, the Orinoco, one of the Conradian dark places of the earth, where my father had conceived literary ambitions for himself and then for...
(The entire section is 594 words.)