"Most of Us Know the parents or grandparents we come from. But we go back and back, forever: we go back all of us to the very beginning: in our blood and bone and brain we carry the memories of thousands of beings." So observes the opening narrator of A Way in the World, and it is this conundrum - that the bulk of our inheritance must remain beyond our grasp - which suffuses this extraordinary work of fiction, the first in seven years by one of the most acclaimed writers of our time. Returning to the autobiographical mode he so brilliantly explored in The Enigma of Arrival, and writing here in the classic form of linked narrations, Naipaul constructs a story of remarkable resonance and power, remembrance and invention. It is the story of a writer's lifelong journey towards an understanding of both the simple stuff of inheritance - language, character, family history - and the long interwoven strands of a deeply complicated historical past: "things barely remembered, things released only by the act of writing." What he writes - and what his release of memory enables us to see - is a series of extended, illuminated moments in the history of Spanish and British imperialism in the Caribbean: Raleigh's final, shameful expedition to the New World; Francisco Miranda's disastrous invasion of South America in the eighteenth century; the more subtle aggressions of the mid-twentieth-century English writer Foster Morris; the transforming and distorting peregrinations of Blair, the black Trinidadian revolutionary. Each episode is viewed through the clarifying lens of the narrator's own post-colonial experience as a Trinidadian of Indian descent who, during the twilight of the Empire, immigrates toEngland, reinventing himself in order to escape the very history he is intent upon telling. With Proustian reflective power, with infinite warmth and humour, and with an acute intelligence, Naipaul has created a monumental tale of identity recovered and remade from undated time an
V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He came to England on a scholarship in 1950. He spent four years at University College, Oxford, and began to write, in London, in 1954. He pursued no other profession. His novels include A House for Mr Biswas, The Mimic Men, Guerrillas, A Bend in the River, and The Enigma of Arrival. In 1971 he was awarded the Booker Prize for In a Free State. His works of nonfiction, equally acclaimed, include Among the Believers, Beyond Belief, The Masque of Africa, and a trio of books about India: An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilization and India: A Million Mutinies Now.
In 1990, V.S. Naipaul received a knighthood for services to literature; in 1993, he was the first recipient of the David Cohen British Literature Prize. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He lived with his wife Nadira and cat Augustus in Wiltshire, and died in 2018.