Does the literary world need more Naipauls?
It is a sad thing that Naipaul hasn't written quite a lot in recent times owing to his age.
You know something about great writers? They are prophetic. They spotthe undercurrents brewing before they come to the forefront and dominate the headlines. Another thing about great writers is that they are masters of the language. And Naipaul is greatest living writer of the English language. No one comes close. Coetzee perhaps a far second.
Naipaul is supposed to be the author you adorn your bookshelf with but never read. But I don't think this applies when it comes to his non-fiction.
After reaidng "Beyond Belief" I was floored. Holy shit, I haven't read a book that hit me so hard. Some of the things he says are so insightful I've never read in a million op-eds and so-called literary magazines.
He speaks with a frankness and irreverence that makes you wonder why it is not /pol/ material. But holy shit has he been right. For example, he writes about how, in Islam, only the "Arab people" are allowed to have a history. How it shapes, subconsciously, in converted cultures like Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan. As a convert from one of these countries, it was more real and more honest an account than any given by any bleeding heart white liberal from any of these countries ever. And instead of malice, in his write, I could find only compassion.
His fiction his heavy, I have only read Guerillas, Mimic Men and A Bend in the River, but I sure know now why he's the unquestioned master of English prose.
No problem, dude. I think his real genius comes forth comes in his non-fiction. As Orhan Pamuk accurately observed:
>Conrad,Nabokov, Naipaul - these are writers known for having managed to migrate between languages, cultures, countries, continents, even civilizations. Their imaginations were fed by exile, a nourishment drawn not through roots but through rootlessness.
He belongs to that unmarked continent of expat writers who relish on their rootlessness, and the only thing marking them out unfortunately is their "otherness". The fact that they are outsiders looking in, when the litrerary world is dominated by either "cultural insiders" or insiders looking out - viewing other cultures from a familiar lens.
If you're interested in the subject of contemporary Islamism, Jihad and all that, you might want to check out Among the believers and Beyond Belief. You will figure out why all those Muslims in those "Behad those who insult Islam" and ISIS videos behave the way they do. What is the ideological pull of those radical actions. He also has an India trilogy which I've only skimmed, but he has written some very accurate things which way before they became dominant issues on the news articles I read on twitter atleast.
As for fiction, I really liked A Bend in the River, though. It is one of those old-school-ey classic-type novels .Might require a bit of patience, but is rewarding.
I'd recommend reading his interview with Dhondhy, an Indian/Pakistani Muslim. Dhondhy's apparently converted to Naipaul:
> It got into a lot of trouble in places like Harvard and MIT. There are some very wise people in these places who, in their wisdom, had no need to go to a country to find out what was going on there. They already knew what was to be known.
I am from one such place. And yes, I have lived it. I know more than these experts to realize that Naipaul speaks the cold harsh truth. No other writer has changed my life in the same way. And as Steinbeck once said, literature that doesn't change you in some way is no literature at all.
The reason I made this thread was because
a) I'm drunk
b) I've never seen Naipaul being discussed even though he's one of the most talented writers living and even won the Nobel Prize (a surprise, really, given his anti-left disposition)
c) I recently read Joyce Carol Oates, a supposedly respected /lit/-type novelist sucking on Islamism and Jihadists. In the best case scenario, she knows not what she is supporting, that the same people would rape and then stone her 80 yr old self without remorse. She doesn't know what Islamism has done to converted non-Arab peoples and she talks with arrogance and authority as if she's suffered through it all. Such people really need a dose of the truth, and no one put it more elegantly than Naipaul.
>How it shapes, subconsciously, in converted cultures like Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan. As a convert from one of these countries, it was more real and more honest an account than any given by any bleeding heart white liberal from any of these countries ever.
Take your poo back to the loo.
In a Free State is on my kindle now.
/lit/ is so caught up in prose and memes that someone who writes realist works and travelogues is skipped over.
Would note that this thread is a relic in the modern era of /lit/ so if you want to talk about more obscure nobel laureates you are shit out of luck most of the time.
Is guerrillas interesting?
It depends on what you're expecting. I would call Naipaul a writer's writer when it comes to fiction. Nothing much happens, but the way he makes the setting come alive it almost a living and breathing thing, as real as any of the characters.
Same with Guerillas. Some Carribean island perenially enveloped in a "pink haze of Bauxite dust" is the mainstay. The novel, while telling the story of a South African white activist, a mistress and a native black revolutionary, basically chronicles the decay and despair of the country. In almost real time. Slow. If you want to read from the masters how to bring settings alive, or political psychology, etc it can be a good read. Otherwise, nothing much happens.
His real forte are his travel books and non fiction. His fiction is like a blunt weapon, its effect is diffuse and leaves the reader unsure what to feel. His unsympathetic portrayals has brought on the ire of many, people like Edward Said and others call him a modern day apologist for empire. But Said and others are white and Naipaul isn't, the only ones being presumptuous enough to think they know more are them, not Naipaul, who is the most brutally honest chronicler of decay.
>Naipaul is supposed to be the author you adorn your bookshelf with but never read
why is that? I've read a few of his books and his prose is easy to read, flows well, he's not hard or elitist highbrow at all
in a free state is a wonderfully visceral, in-your-face piece of literature, really good book.
and desu something that a white british man could've never written without getting publicly crucified
also I remember that the first story in A Way in the World is really good. about an indian who moves to the US and how utterly different the two cultures are
naipaul is mediocre and said was right
if you want interesting thoughts on islam read rushdie
if you want postcolonial experiences theres numerous writers better than naipaul, whether it is rushdie, walcott, thiong'o, rhys, cesaire etc
I read A House for Mr. Biswas and was bored. But I find Conrad boring so there's that. Might return to him.
No. Thion'go, Rhys and Cesaire are mediocre writers in themselves, especially Rhys, and the other two are better known for their politics, which are simplistic. Naipaul offers a different view of postcolonial identity, the outsider's outsider since his characters are often Indians living in a colonial setting that isn't their own. And he can actually write well.
Rushdie is a coward and an apologist. I won't expect people on /lit/ to remember the time when he converted to Islam and used to come on TV giving interviews about his love for Mo and spreading crypto jihadism.
And of all the people who disagree with Naipaul, nobody calls him mediocre. You haven't even raid Edward Said so I don't expect you to know what you're talking about.
cesaires politics aren't simplistic, thiong'o maybe a little - but they're better and more interesting writers than naipaul, rhys i will give you
the point of view is an interesting one, it's a shame the texts don't explore that particular liminality particularly interestingly
i have read said thanks, went back over culture and imperialism last week
naipaul is mediocre in the sense of what of what i would expect of someone's work which won a nobel prize
the criticisms of rushdie are weak and don't matter if we're going to talk about his actual writing, just like i don't care what people say about naipaul being a difficult person or whatever
I bet you haven't even read Rushdie. Tell me the name of the device (as Rushdie calls it) which was the medium between the protagonist's grandfather and grandmother about a quarter into his most famous book which made him what he is.
I know people like you. People who claim to have read so much but show absolutely zero depth of understanding when prodded.
>Le Nobel Prize
Le Yeats, Eliot, Mann, Hesse, Faulkner, Pasternak, Beckett, White, Bellow, Naipaul etc are mediocre writers.
Case fucking closed. You don't know shit, return to dfw or whatever meme authors ure jacking to now.