V. S. Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

V. S.
Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

Trinidadian-British Nobel Prize-Winning Writer

Author Quotes

There are certain things that are too painful for people to even write about sometimes, and there are certain things that are too hard to read about again.

We exchanged greetings, and in the African way we could make that take time.

Whereas before he had waited for me to ask questions, now it was he who put up little ideas, little debating points, as though he wanted to get a discussion going.

There are two ways of talking. One is the easy way, where you talk lightly, and the other one is the considered way. The considered way is what I have put my name to.

We feel of the great world that it is simply there, something for the lucky ones among us to explore, and then only at the edges. It never occurs to us that we might make some contribution to it ourselves. And that is why we miss everything. When we land at a place like London airport we are concerned only not to appear foolish. It is more beautiful and more complex than anything we could have dreamed of, but we are concerned only to let people see that we can manage and are not overawed.

With our cynicism, created by years of insecurity, how did we look on men? We judged the salesmen in the van der Weyden by the companies they represented, their ability to offer us concessions. Knowing such men, having access to the services they offered, and being flattered by them that we were not ordinary customers paying the full price or having to take our place in the queue, we thought we had mastered the world.

There may be some part of the world ? dead countries, or secure and by-passed ones ? where men can cherish the past and think of passing on furniture and china to their heirs. Men can do that perhaps in Sweden or Canada.

We had become what the world outside had made us; we had to live in the world as it existed.

Without always knowing what we were doing we were constantly adjusting to the arbitrariness by which we were surrounded.

They say that men should look at the mother of the girl they intend to marry, Yvette said. Girls who did what I did should consider the wife a man has discarded or worn out, and know thye are not going to do much better.

We have nothing. We solace ourselves with the great men of our tribe, the Gandhi and the Nehru, and we castrate ourselves. 'Here, take my manhood and invest it for me. Take my manhood and be a greater man yourself, for my sake!

Women make up half the world; and I thought I had reached the stage where there was nothing in a woman?s nakedness to surprise me. But I felt now as if I was experiencing anew, and seeing a woman for the first time.

They were a hospitable couple and they made a point (I feel for religious reasons) of offering hospitality to frightened or stranded foreigners.

We made no inquiries about India or about the families people had left behind. When our ways of thinking had changed, and we wished to know, it was too late. I know nothing of the people on my father's side; I know only that some of them came from Nepal.

Writers should provoke disagreement.

This is unusual for me. I have given readings and not lectures. I have told people who ask for lectures that I have no lecture to give. And that is true.

What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn't know fully.

Writing has to support itself.

Though it was a comfort on occasion to play with the idea that outside this place a whole life waited for me, all the relationships that bind a man to the earth and give him a feeling of having a place.

What matters in the end in literature, what is always there, is the truly good. And- though played out forms can throw up miraculous sports like The Importance of Being Earnest or Decline and Fall- what is good is always what is new, in both form and content. What is good forgets whatever models it might have had, and is unexpected; we have to catch it on the wing.

You can?t deny what you?ve learned; you can?t deny your travels; you can?t deny the nature of your life.

To awaken to history was to cease to live instinctively. It was to begin to see oneself and one?s group the way the outside world saw one; and it was to know a kind of rage. India was now full of this rage. There had been a general awakening. But everyone awakened first to his own group or community; every group thought itself unique in its awakening; and every group sought to separate its rage from the rage of other groups.

What Raja Ram Mohun Roy began as a reform movement early in the 19th century Devendranath Tagore made into a religion. It transformed the Bengali middle class. Rabindranath Tagore expanded that religion into a culture. And that culture became Nehru?s politics.

You need someone to see what you've done, to read it and to understand it and to appreciate what's gone into it.

I still think it's really quite wonderful when I read a sentence of mine and it has that quality of lastingness.

Author Picture
First Name
V. S.
Last Name
Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
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Trinidadian-British Nobel Prize-Winning Writer