V. S. Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul

V. S.
Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
1932
1996

Trinidadian-British Nobel Prize-Winning Writer

Author Quotes

It isn't that there's no right and wrong here. There's no right.

Life is a helluva thing. You can see trouble coming and you can't do a damn thing to prevent it coming. You just got to sit and watch and wait.

Not the first time. I didn?t think my heart could stand it. But the airplane is a wonderful thing. You are still in one place when you arrive at the other. The airplane is faster than the heart. You arrive quickly and you leave quickly. You don?t grieve too much. And there is something else about the airplane. You can go back many times to the same place. And something strange happens if you go back often enough. You stop grieving for the past. You see that the past is something in your mind alone, that it doesn?t exist in real life. You trample on the past, you crush it. In the beginning it is like trampling on a garden. In the end you are just walking on ground. That is the way we have to learn to live now. The past is here. He touched his heart. It isn?t there. And he pointed at the dusty road. I

Small things can start us off in new ways of thinking, and I was started off by the postage stamps of our area.

The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.

I shared in the boom. I was energetic in my own modest way. But I was also restless. You so quickly get used to peace. It is like being well ? you take it for granted, and forget that when you were ill to be well again had seemed everything. And with peace and the boom I began to see the town as ordinary, for the first time.

If writers just sit and talk about oppression, they are not going to do much writing.

In his original design the solicitor's clerk seemed to have forgotten the need for a staircase to link both the floors, and what he had provided had the appearance of an afterthought. Doorways had been punched in the eastern wall and a rough wooden staircase - heavy planks on an uneven frame with one warped unpainted banister, the whole covered with a sloping roof of corrugated iron - hung precariously at the back of the house, in striking contrast with the white-pointed brickwork of the front, the white woodwork and the frosted glass of doors and windows.

It made smuggling easy; but I was nervous of getting involved, because a government that breaks its own laws can also easily break you.

Like many isolated people, they were wrapped up in themselves and not too interested in the world outside.

Nothing was made in Trinidad.

Small things start us in new ways of thinking

The past has to be seen to be dead; or the past will kill.

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

If you decide to move to another country and to live within its laws you don't express your disregard for the essence of the culture. It's a form of aggression.

In my late thirties the dream of disappointment and exhaustion had been the dream of the exploding head: the dream of a noise in my head so loud and long that I felt with the brain that survived that the brain could not survive; that this was death. Now, in my early fifties, after my illness, after I had left the manor cottage and put an end to that section of my life, I began to be awakened by thoughts of death, the end of things; and sometimes not even by thoughts so specific, not even by fear rational or fantastic, but by a great melancholy. This melancholy penetrated my mind while I slept; and then, when I awakened in response to its prompting, I was so poisoned by it, made so much not a doer (as men must be, every day of their lives), that it took the best part of the day to shake it off. And that wasted or dark day added to the gloom preparing for the night.

It seemed as easy as that, if you came late to the world and found ready-made those things that other countries and peoples had taken so long to arrive at ? writing, printing, universities, books, knowledge.

Look, boys, it ever strike you that the world not real at all? It ever strike you that we have the only mind in the world and you just thinking up everything else? Like me here, having the only mind in the world, and thinking up you people here, thinking up the war and all the houses and the ships and them in the harbour. That ever cross your mind?

On the front cover of Newsweek reviews A House for Mr. Biswas as a marvelous prose epic that matches the best 19th century novels for richness of comic insight and final, tragic power.

Some lesser husbands built a latrine on the hillside.

The President?s white men, the promise of order and continuity; and it was oddly comforting, like the sound of rain in the night.

I think when you see so many Hindu temples of the 10th century or earlier disfigured, defaced, you realize that something terrible happened. I feel the civilization of that closed world was mortally wounded by those invasions the old world is destroyed. That has to be understood. Ancient Hindu India was destroyed.

If you get too attached to your roots in the old sense, you might actually become unrooted, fossilized. At least in form, at least in style, you must get into the new stream, get the new roots. More of India is doing that. Style becomes substance in one generation. Things that one starts to do because other people are doing it ? like wearing long pants, in my father?s case ? become natural for the next generation.

In our island myth this was the prescribed end of marriages like mine: the wife goes off with someone from the Cercle Sportif, outside whose gates at night the willingly betrayed husband waits in his motorcar. The circumstances were slightly.

It was a good place for getting lost in, a city no one ever knew, a city explored from the neutral heart outward, until after many years, it defined itself into a jumble of clearings separated by stretches of the unknown, through which the narrowest of paths had been cut.

Author Picture
First Name
V. S.
Last Name
Naipaul, fully Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
Birth Date
1932
Death Date
1996
Bio

Trinidadian-British Nobel Prize-Winning Writer