The Nobel prize winner is a compelling literary figure on the world stage and this is a superb and sensitive account of the enigmatic genius. He portrays Naipaul's childhood in Trinidad, his growth as a writer, draws fine distinctions between Naipaul's books, deals sharply with the business side of his literary career and tells the terrible story of the Naipaul marriage. 'The frankest authorised biography of anyone alive and in possession of the senses'.
Researched with the full co-operation of its Nobel Prize-winning subject, this is the first major biography of one of our greatest writers Patrick French has been granted unique access to V S Naipaul's private papers and his personal recollections. With great feeling for Naipaul's formidable body of work, he has produced a luminous account of the most compelling literary figure of the last 50 years. Beginning in rich and evocative detail in Trinidad, where V S Naipaul was born into an Indian family, French examines early privations, Naipaul's first recollections, his life within a displaced community, and his talent and fierce ambition at school, which won him a scholarship to Oxford at the age of 17. He describes how, once in England, homesickness and depression struck with great force, and the ways in which Naipaul's first wife helped him to cope with his double exile. They were to stay, tenuously, together for over four decades, even after Naipaul embarked on an intense, 25-year affair that was to inspire a second wave of breathtaking creation. Naipaul's extraordinary gift - producing, uniquely, masterpieces of both fiction and non-fiction - is born of a forceful, visionary impulse, whose roots Patrick French traces with a sympathetic brilliance and devastating insight that does full justice to this enigmatic genius.