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A Way in the World

Overview

In his long-awaited, vastly innovative new novel, Naipaul, "one of literature's great travelers" (Los Angles Times), spans continents and centuries to create what is at once an autobiography and a fictional archaeology of colonialism. "Dickensian . . . a brilliant new prism through which to view (Naipaul's) life and work."--New York Times.

In his long-awaited, vastly innovative new novel, Naipaul, "one of literature's great travelers" (Los Angles Times), spans ...

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A Way in the World

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Overview

In his long-awaited, vastly innovative new novel, Naipaul, "one of literature's great travelers" (Los Angles Times), spans continents and centuries to create what is at once an autobiography and a fictional archaeology of colonialism. "Dickensian . . . a brilliant new prism through which to view (Naipaul's) life and work."--New York Times.

In his long-awaited, vastly innovative new novel, Naipaul, "one of literature's great travelers" (Los Angles Times), spans continents and centuries to create what is at once an autobiography and a fictional archaeology of colonialism. "Dickensian . . . a brilliant new prism through which to view (Naipaul's) life and work."--New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Books of the Century
...[A] disturbing meditation on the relationships among personal, national and world histories and on inheritance and immortality.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Billed by the publisher as Naipaul's first novel since The Enigma of Arrival in 1987, this can really be regarded as fiction only by the most extremely elastic definition. It is in fact a series of extended essays, meditations and dramatized historical reconstructions that originally carried the perhaps more fitting subtitle ``A Sequence.'' Naipaul ruminates, with all his acute intelligence, on how history shapes personality--and vice versa. The book begins and ends with unexpectedly personal autobiographical sketches of Naipaul: as a boy in Trinidad; as a bright young clerk with a scholarship and a future; as a fledgling writer struggling in London; and, finally, in a later period, in an unnamed East African country where he reencounters a character from his youth. These flank two much longer pieces, which are both poignant and superbly realized portraits of elderly figures whose once-powerful lives were wrecked, more than 200 years apart, by their efforts to exploit, economically and politically, the corner of South America where Trinidad looks across the Bay of Paria to the swampy mainland of Venezuela. Sir Walter Raleigh came twice, with dreams of gold fathered by Columbus, and is seen on his last voyage, about to return to death in the Tower. Francisco Miranda, an astonishing, courtly con man who used, and was used by, both British and Spanish governments as a would-be ``liberator'' of Latin America in the late 18th century, is seen in fragile Trinidadian exile, exchanging thoughtful, chatty letters with his wife in London. Naipaul's mastery of his material is absolute, and his seemingly effortless, beautifully wrought prose carries the reader to the heart of the mysteries of human destiny. 35,000 first printing. May
Library Journal
After seven years, Naipaul returns to fiction to explore the sources and implications of his feelings of rootlessness, the realities of the colonial experience, the impact of cultural displacement, and our need to belong. He does so through a series of linked historical narratives. Among them is an imagined vision of Raleigh's desperate but futile search for El Dorado. We are also introduced to Francisco de Miranda, one of the precursors to Bolivar's revolution. We are witness to the irony inherent in the life of Lebrun, a Trinidadian/Panamanian Communist of the 1930s. And then there is Blair, a former co-worker of the narrator in Trinidad, whose African roots prove no help when he becomes an adviser to an East African despot. These are tales of lost souls desperate to find a place at the table but who never quite succeed, leaving them doomed to remain on the fringes of history. A work from a fine and thoughtful storyteller that belongs in all collections of serious fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/94.]-David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
New York Times Books of the Century
...[A] disturbing meditation on the relationships among personal, national and world histories and on inheritance and immortality.
Caryl Phillips
"Whichever way the narrative takes us...characters, ideas, events (are) elegantly juggled, set down and picked up again with a technical brilliance that comes with a lifetime's experience....Brave...fascinating...A WAY in the World is a beautiful lament." -- The New Republic
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679761662
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 734,420
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

V. S. Naipaul
V. S. Naipaul
In awarding V. S. Naipaul the Nobel prize for literature in 2001, the Swedish Academy called him a "literary circumnavigator" and a "modern philosophe." Both tags seem spot-on, given Naipaul's gift for describing -- in both his fictional and nonfictional studies of India, Africa, and beyond -- the humor and pathos of cultural collisions.

Biography

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr. Biswas, A Bend in the River, and a collection of letters, Between Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chaguanas, Trinidad
    1. Education:
      Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, 1943-48; B.A., University College, Oxford, 1953

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