“A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say ‘Slum!’ because he could see no more.” But to its residents this derelict corner of Trinidad’s capital is a complete world, where everybody is quite different from everybody else. There’s Popo the carpenter, who neglects his livelihood to build “the thing without a name.” There’s Man-man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion, and the dreaded Big Foot, the bully with glass tear ducts. There’s the lovely Mrs. Hereira, in thrall to her monstrous husband. In this tender, funny early novel, V. S. Naipaul renders their lives (and the legends their neighbors construct around them) with Dickensian verve and Chekhovian compassion.
Set during World War II and narrated by an unnamed–but precociously observant–neighborhood boy, Miguel Street is a work of mercurial mood shifts, by turns sweetly melancholy and anarchically funny. It overflows with life on every page.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Science Fiction eBook: Miguel Street|
|Release Date: 10-20-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Miguel Street|
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Every morning when he got up Hat would sit on the banister of his back verandah and shout across, 'What happening there, Bogart?'
Bogart would turn in his bed and mumble softly, so that no one heard, 'What happening there, Hat?'
It was something of a mystery why he was called Bogart; but I suspect that it was Hat who gave him the name. I don't know if you remember the year the film Casablanca was made. That was the year when Bogart's fame spread like fire through Port of Spain and hundreds of young men began adopting the hardboiled Bogartian attitude.
Before they called him Bogart they called him Patience, because he played that game from morn till night. Yet he never liked cards.
Whenever you went over to Bogart's little room you found him sitting on his bed with the cards in seven lines on a small table in front of him.
'What happening there, man?' he would ask quietly, and then he would say nothing for ten or fifteen minutes. And somehow you felt you couldn't really talk to Bogart, he looked so bored and superior. His eyes were small and sleepy. His face was fat and his hair was gleaming black.
His arms were plump. Yet he was not a funny man. He did everything with a captivating languor. Even when he licked his thumb to deal out the cards there was grace in it.
He was the most bored man I ever knew.
He made a pretence of making a living by tailoring, and he had even paid me some money to write a sign for him:
TAILOR AND CUTTER Suits made to Order Popular and Competitive Prices
He bought a sewing machine and some blue and white and brown chalks. But I never could imagine him competing with anyone; and I cannot remember him ma...