Critical Context

The Mimic Men, one of Naipaul’s most respected novels, received the W. H. Smith Award in 1968. Naipaul’s earlier novels are comedies. In them, Naipaul exposes the ridiculous aspects of Trinidadian life. The Mimic Men departs from this tradition and represents a serious, critical investigation of a colonial society in transition—a direction which he has followed in many subsequent works, both fiction and nonfiction. The pessimism of his conclusions regarding the emerging nations has earned for him many critics, not least the politicians of the countries he observes. Yet the power of his language and insight have made V. S. Naipaul one of the keenest interpreters of the Third World.