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

The first 50 years of the cinema were absolutely great years. Original minds were at work establishing the ways to tell a story. And what is happening now is a copying, a pastiche-ing of what was done by great men.

I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn't made that decision. I suppose I would have sunk. I suppose I would have found some kind of hole and tried to hide or pass. After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities. I would have hidden in my hole and been crippled by my sentimentality, doing what I was doing, and doing it well, but always looking for the wailing wall. And I would never have seen the world as the rich place that it is. You wouldn't have seen me here in Africa, doing what I do.

If a writer doesn't generate hostility, he is dead.

In a cell like mine you very quickly become aware of your body. You can grow to hate your body. And your body is all you have: this was the curious thought that kept floating up through my rage.

It is important not to trust people too much.

I've never abandoned the novel.

My publisher, who was so good as a taster and editor, when she became a writer, lo and behold, it was all this feminine tosh.

Paradise seemed further away than India, but Hell had become a bit closer

The frontier had ceased to exist. And the religions it had bred were beginning slowly to die. In the old days, when men, often of little education, had needed only to declare themselves ministers, people would have seen themselves reflected in the expounders of the Word. This quality of homespun would have made the religions appear creations of a community, personal and close and inviolable. Now a certain distance was needed.

I profoundly feel that people are letting you down all the time.

If a writer knows everything that is going to happen, then his book is dead before he begins it.

In a way my reputation has become that of the curmudgeon.

It is mysterious that the ambition should have come first - the wish to be a writer, to have that distinction, that fame - and that this ambition should have come long before I could think of anything to write about.

Judgment is contained in the act of trying to understand.

My wish for an adventure with Yvette was a wish to be taken up to the skies, to be removed from the life I had ? the dullness, the pointless tension, ?the situation of the country?. It wasn?t a wish to be involved with people as trapped as myself.

Perhaps he had made Africa his subject because he had come to Africa and because he was a scholar, used to working with papers, and had found this place full of new papers.

The longer I live the more convinced I become that one of the greatest honors we can confer on other people is to see them as they are, to recognize not only that they exist, but that they exist in specific ways and have specific realities.

I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.

If ever you wish to meet intellectual frauds in quantity, go to Paris.

In England I am not English, in India I am not Indian. I am chained to the 1,000 square miles that is Trinidad; but I will evade that fate yet.

It is well that Indians are unable to look at their country directly, for the distress they would see would drive them mad. And it is well that they have no sense of history, for how then would they be able to continue to squat amid their ruins, and which Indian would be able to read the history of his country for the last thousand years without anger and pain? It is better to retreat into fantasy and fatalism, to trust to the stars in which the fortunes of all are written

Le Corbusier?s unrendered concrete towers, after 27 years of Punjab sun and monsoon and sub-Himalayan winter, looked stained and diseased, and showed now as quite plain structures, with an applied flashiness: megalomaniac architecture: people reduced to units, individuality reserved only to the architect, imposing his ideas of colour in an inflated Mir¢esque mural on one building, and imposing an iconography of his own with a giant hand set in a vast flat area of concrete paving, which would have been unbearable in winter and summer and the monsoon. India had encouraged yet another outsider to build a monument to himself.

Neither my father nor grandfather could put dates to their stories. Not because they had forgotten or were confused; the past was simply the past. I remember hearing from my grandfather that he had once shipped a boatful of slaves as a cargo of rubber. He couldn?t tell me when he had done this. It was just there in his memory, floating around, without date or other association, as an unusual event in an uneventful life.

Reality is always separate from the ideal; but in Trinidad this fantasy is a form of masochism and is infinitely more cheating than the fantasy which makes the poor delight in films about rich or makes the English singer use and American accent.

The medieval mind, which saw only continuity, seemed so unassailable. It existed in a world which, with all its ups and downs, remained harmoniously ordered and could be taken for granted. It had not developed a sense of history, which is a sense of loss; it had developed no true sense of beauty, which is a gift of assessment. While it was enclosed, this made it secure. Exposed, its world became a fairyland, exceedingly fragile. It was one step from the Kashmiri devotional songs to the commercial jingles of Radio Ceylon; it was one step from the roses of Kashmir to a potful of plastic daisies.

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