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Tuesday, 30 January 2007
V S Naipaul

Luke, in the comments to my post on diversity, has this to say:

The right-on literary establishment's treatment of VS Naipaul is nothing short of a philistine disgrace.

Never mind his more 'controversial' later books.

'A House for Mr Biswas' is one of the greatest post-war English language novels and knocks most British black / Asian writers into irrelevance. Monica Ali's Brick Lane owes a large debt to A House for Mr Biswas. Although it is, as these things always are, inferior.

Never mind The Enigma of Arrival or any of Naipaul's amazingly prescient works on Islam, books that identified, examined and dissected all that is happening in our world today over 25 years ago (Among the Believers came out in the early 1980's, and 'Beyond Belief', an even more vital work focussing on how Islam is little more than Arab imperialism, was published in the late 1990's.)

Posted on 01/30/2007 7:11 AM by Mary Jackson
30 Jan 2007
Every so often he gives an interview and he does seem slightly cantankerous. But I have not read a single response to his two works on Islam. It's almost as if they refuse to even acknowledge his work for fear of how they disrupt so much of the assumptions they have. 'Among the Believers' and 'Beyond Belief' are required reading for everybody, simply for their prescience and insight. 'Among the Believers' almost gave Edward Said a hernia, it enraged him so much, which is of course another reason to read it.

And if you have not read 'A House for Mr Biswas' you really should.

30 Jan 2007
Send an emailRobert Bove
Luke also flags John Kennedy Toole's wonderful A Confederacy of Dunces, a book we have thanks to Toole's mother and the great Walker Percy. See the latter's last novel, The Thanatos Syndrome, for a fine treatment of the human conscience.