The first major biography of V.S. Naipaul, the controversial and enigmatic Nobel laureate: a stunning writer whose only stated ambition was greatness, in pursuit of which goal nothing else was sacred.
Beginning in rich detail in Trinidad, where Naipaul was born into an Indian family, Patrick French skillfully examines Naipaul’s life within a displaced community and his fierce ambition at school. He describes how, on scholarship at Oxford, homesickness and depression struck with great force; the ways in which Naipaul’s first wife helped him to cope and their otherwise fraught marriage; and Naipaul’s struggles throughout subsequent uncertainties in England, including his twenty-five-year-long affair.
Naipaul’s extraordinary gift—producing, uniquely, masterpieces of both fiction and nonfiction—is most of all born of a forceful, visionary impulse, whose roots French traces with a sympathetic brilliance and devastating insight.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The World Is What It Is|
|Release Date: 11-04-2008|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The World Is What It Is
The New World
The islands of the Caribbean dot and dash their way through the sea, linking different worlds. Central America joins the southern and northern hemispheres, taking you up through Colombia, Panama and Nicaragua by the land route until you reach Mexico, or down through the shallows of the Atlantic from Florida to the Bahamas, skirting Cuba and Jamaica, passing Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, until you find yourself in the sprayed arc of islands known as the Lesser Antilles, some no more than a few miles across: Anguilla, Sint Maarten, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, Martinique, Grenada. At the tip of the chain lies a larger island which, beneath the sea or geologically, is part of the South American mainland. Almost square, with a low promontory at its south-western corner pointing to Venezuela, this is Trinidad.
In the summer of 1498, three ships approached the shores of the island. The men on board were exhausted and burned by the sun, surviving off raisins, salt pork and sea biscuits, their supply of water running low. They were led by a white-haired voyager in his forties named Christoforo Colombo, known also as Christóbal Colón or Christopher Columbus. He was ill, his body inflamed and his eyes bleeding. It was Columbus’s third voyage in search of Asia, and the one on which his future depended. A few months earlier, Vasco da Gama had reached Calicut, opening Europe’s sea route to India. Renowned for his acute sense of smell, Columbus would have drunk in the lush, flowering vegetation of the island with its easy, humid, tropical climate, home to rainforests of bamboo and hardwood, flashing birds like the silver-beaked tanager,