V.S. Naipaul, writer of many contradictions and obvious greatness

V.S. Naipaul, writer of many contradictions and obvious greatness

He was detested by the intellectuals of the third world and called, among other things, a "restorer of the comforting myths of the white race" (Chinua Achebe), "a despicable praise of neocolonialism" (HB Singh) and a "cold and mocking prophet" ( Eric Roach).

He made enemies as easily as he sipped tea. He said: "I read a piece of writing and in a paragraph or two I know if it's from a woman or not [it is] unequal for me. "She has physically abused Margaret Murray, her lover for many years, and has spoken openly of dislike for overweight people and visiting prostitutes, a bindi on a woman's forehead means, she said," My head is empty. "

He had so many ardent defenders. Ian Buruma, editor of The New York Review of Books, felt it was a mistake to see Naipaul as "an obscure man who imitates the prejudices of the white imperialists". He wrote: "This vision is not only superficial, it is wrong." Naipaul's anger is not the result of not being able to feel the situation of the native, on the contrary, he is angry because he feels it so deeply. "

At best, Naipaul's work has made these questions almost questionable. He was a self-styled heir to Joseph Conrad and legitimate. "This is what I would ask the writer," he once said. "How much of the modern world contains his work?" Naipaul's work contained multitudes – subtle and overlapping meanings, only rarely bat. It is the subject of an excellent biography, "The world is what it is" (2008), by Patrick French – a good starting point, together with "A House for Mr. Biswas", for those interested in work of Naipaul.