The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul

Patrick French, Author . Knopf $30 (554p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4405-4

V.S. Naipaul's biographer aims not “to sit in judgment of the Nobel laureate, but to expose the subject with ruthless clarity to the calm eye of the reader.” In this he succeeds admirably. Descendant of poor Brahmins, born in 1932 in Trinidad and educated in Oxford, Naipaul is haunted by matters of race, colonialism and sex. He is, says award-winning author French (Younghusband ), both the racist (against those darker than he) and the victim of racial prejudice, tendencies that come through in his novels and in his treatment of friends and lovers. Haunting this biography are Naipaul's women. His wife, Pat, supported him, overlooked his affairs and his visits with prostitutes, and subordinated herself to his genius; Naipaul gave equally little to Margaret, his mistress. Naipaul and his books may be the subject of this work, but it is these and the other women whom he depended on and took for granted—from his editor to his mother—whose stories will keep that “calm eye of the reader” glued to the pages of this disturbing biography. 16 pages of photos. (Nov. 7)

Reviewed on: 09/08/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 554 pages - 978-1-4000-7980-3
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Hardcover - 555 pages - 978-0-330-43350-1
Ebook - 450 pages - 978-0-330-46493-2
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