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

I always knew who I was and where I had come from. I was not looking for a home in other people's lands.

An autobiography can distort, facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies. It reveals the writer totally.

But everything of value about me is in my books.

Going home at night! It wasn't often that I was on the river at night. I never liked it. I never felt in control. In the darkness of river and forest you could be sure only of what you could see ? and even on a moonlight night you couldn't see much. When you made a noise ? dipped a paddle in the water ? you heard yourself as though you were another person. The river and the forest were like presences, and much more powerful than you. You felt unprotected, an intruder ... You felt the land taking you back to something that was familiar, something you had known at some time but had forgotten or ignored, but which was always there. You felt the land taking you back to what was there a hundred years ago, to what had been there always.

I am the kind of writer that people think other people are reading.

A businessman is someone who buys at ten and is happy to get out at twelve. The other kind of man buys at ten, sees it rise to eighteen and does nothing. He is waiting for it to get to twenty. The beauty of numbers. When it drops to ten again he waits for it to get back to eighteen. When it drops to two he waits for it to get back to ten. Well, it gets back there. But he has wasted a quarter of his life. And all he's got out of his money is a little mathematical excitement.

Anand, look at the back of my hands. No hair. The sign of an advanced race, boy. And look at yours. No hair either. But you never know. With some of your mother's bad blood flowing in your veins you could wake up one morning and find yourself hairy like a monkey

But I thought: That is the sound of war. That sound of a steady, grinding machine made me think of guns; and then I thought of the crazed and half-starved village people against whom the guns were going to be used, people whose rags were already the color of ashes. This was the anxiety of a moment of wakefulness; I fell asleep again. When

Government that breaks its own laws can also easily break you.

I became very interested in the Islamic question, and thought I would try to understand it from the roots, ask very simple questions and somehow make a narrative of that discovery.

A cat only has itself.

And in India it was necessary to take people's feelings into consideration.

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.

Great writing can be done in biography, history, art.

I came to London. It had become the center of my world and I had worked hard to come to it. And I was lost.

A celestial camera recorded my every movement, impartially, without judgement or pity. I was marked; I was of interest; I would survive.

And it was strange, I thought, that sorrow lasts and can make a man look forward to death, but the mood of victory fills a moment and then is over

But the people I found, the people I was attracted to were not unlike myself. They were trying to find order in their world, looking for the centre.

He found, to his surprise, that he had put an end to their threats.

I could meet dreadful people and end up seeing the world through their eyes, seeing their frailties, their needs. You refer to yourself in order to understand other people. That's the novelist's gift, isn't it?

A civilization which has taken over the world cannot be said to be dying.

And so my satisfactions had only been brothel satisfactions, which hadn?t been satisfactions at all.

But this is madness. I am going in the wrong direction. There can?t be a new life at the end of this.

He read political books. They gave him phrases which he could only speak to himself and use on Shama. They also revealed one region after another of misery and injustice and left him feeling more helpless and more isolated than ever. Then it was that he discovered the solace of Dickens. Without difficulty he transferred characters and settings to people and places he knew. In the grotesques of Dickens everything he feared and suffered from was ridiculed and diminished, so that his own anger, his own contempt became unnecessary, and he was given strength to bear the most difficult part of his day: dressing in the morning, that daily affirmation of faith in oneself, which at times for him was almost like an act of sacrifice.

I could scarcely bear to look at her eyes. They promised such intimacies.

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