By NAN Contributor
News Americas, LONDON, England, Mon. Aug. 13, 2018: V.S. Naipaul, (Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul), will always be remembered for “The House of Mr. Biswas” by many Caribbean students of literature who may have first encountered the book as a mandatory choice on their school’s literary list of must-reads. But it is perhaps the Nobel laureate’s criticism of his own homeland of Trinidad and Tobago and his critical portraits of the West Indies, India, Africa, the Islamic faith and women writers that has left few truly saddened by his passing.
Here’s how some of the world’s top writers are reacting:
“We disagreed all our lives, about politics, about literature, and I feel as sad as if I just lost a beloved older brother. RIP Vidia. #VSNaipaul,” tweeted Salman Rushdie.
Aatish Taseer, the author, most recently, of “The Way Things Were,” called him “My Wonderful, Cruel Friend” in an op ed for the New York Times Sunday while The Guardian called Naipaul “a complicated man and a complicated legacy.” in an editorial.
American travel writer, Paul Theroux, whose best-known work is The Great Railway Bazaar, told NPR that Naipaul’s “gift was being uncompromising – stubborn and uncompromising, not accepting any cliche or any accepted version of what the world is, what politics is.
“When you consider someone who was so defiant and so uncompromising in his writing and in his life, you learn a lot from that person. And so he was always going against the grain, sometimes to a fault,” he added.
Amitava Kumar, author, most recently, of the novel “Immigrant, Montana,” said Naipaul’s talent as a writer was “an arresting syntactic rhythm that fixed for his reader an image of the world as it was” while author Anand Giridharadas of ‘Winners Take All,’ tweeted: “There are a great many things about Naipaul that I have no desire to emulate. What I do take away after his passing is that summons to empathize and judge, empathize and judge, as the work of the writer.”
Naipaul passed away on Saturday, August 11, 2018, at his home in London with his third wife, Pakistan journalist, Nadira Naipaul reportedly, at his bedside. He was 85 and just days shy of his 86th birthday.
He was born on August 17, 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago, the second child of Droapatie Capildeo and Seepersad Naipaul, who was a journalist.
Naipaul enrolled in the government-run Queen’s Royal College and upon graduation, Naipaul won a Trinidad Government scholarship that allowed him to study at any institution of higher learning in the British Commonwealth; he chose Oxford.
Naipaul once wrote: “The history of the islands can never be told satisfactorily. Brutality is not the only difficulty. History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies.”
Wrong VA. The West Indies created you!
And even though Naipaul spent much of his life denouncing the land of his birth and once said he thought it was a mistake that he was born there, the country’s PM, Keith Rowley, in a Facebook post on Sat. said: “It was with a profound sense of sadness that I received the news of the passing of Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul. On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, I express sincere condolences to the family of Sir V.S. Naipaul. His literary works will always remain a testimony of his strength and amazing talent as well as ensure that he will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.”