The World Is What It Is

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 4, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 458 pages
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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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Contents

ONE The New World
3
TWO In the Lion House
14
THREE Like Oliver Twist in the Workhouse
29
FOUR To the MOthI Country
47
FIVE De Porzu Hispaniensi in T rinirauls Insua
66
SIX I Love You My Dear Pat
89
EIGHT They Want Me 0 Know My Place
125
NINE Something Rich Like Chocolate
140
FQURTEEN Lovely IoguejustBougl1r
230
SEVENTEEN With the Aid ofa Cutlass Blade
295
NINETEEN England and Argentina
323
to Win and Win and Win
360
TWENTYTHREE Undoing My SemiColons
435
TWENTYFIVE The Second Lady Naipaul
461
Arknouledgerrzenr r
489
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About the author (2008)

PATRICK FRENCH was born in England in 1966 and studied literature at Edinburgh University. He is the author of Younghusband, Liberty or Death and Tibet, Tibet, and is a winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award. The World Is What It Is won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Hawthornden Prize.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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