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اثر وی. اس. نیپال از انتشارات هرمس - مترجم: پری آزرم وند (مختاری)-برندگان جوایز ادبی

Naipaul discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on—Derek Walcott, Gustave Flaubert, and his father, among them—and his first encounters with literary culture. He illuminates the ways in which the writings of Gandhi, Nehru, and other Indian writers both reveal and conceal the authors themselves and their nation. And he brings the same scrutiny to bear on his own life: his early years in Trinidad; the empty spaces in his family history; his ever-evolving reactions to the more complicated India he would encounter for the first time at age thirty.

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The piece I enjoyed the most in this collection of essays, all bound together by themes of looking and feeling, was about India, and it is amusingly titled: @Looking and not seeing - the Indian [email protected]

Salim, a little known author of a book called Jeevan Darshan, leaves India and goes to Surinam back in the early 20th century. 20 years later a young Indian from South Africa returns to India with a vision of his own. Naipaul encounters a mattress-maker in the ancestral home of his grandmother in Trinidad, who after an inquiry from the curious author about India replies, much to the others intrigue, @there was a new railyway [email protected] Years later, Naipauls mother visits her ancestral home in India and is unhappy with what she finds there. Then there is Naipauls own disillusionment famously captured in @An Area of [email protected] Taking these experiences as references Naipaul charts a map of the ways of looking, of what these people learn(or not learn) about the country they call their own.

Also, what he has to say about Gandhi in this book has to be read by every serious reader. Naipaul has the intelligence here to see Gandhi, not as a Mahatama (which the author is not denying), but as a young man troubled by his lack of understanding of the world, his strands of self-development, the circumstances that brought about that change (because it could have turned out differently), making him almost an ascetic, paving way to a revolution that was not only political but spiritual too.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Its my fault to began reading V.S. Naipaul from his non-fiction essays not from his great novels awarded prestogious Nobel Prize. In the first non-fiction books I couldnt find the spirit of his genious, mastery of his language, marvelous gift og writing. After finishing this book, which was also collections of essays I must admit I had been wrong. Ive found in it evidence of his talent, especially in descriptions, language – simple and accurate. And because of it the subject which was rather not inspiring, and could be described even boring,under writers pen changes in the story with deep meaning.
Some chapters are simply rewviews. I was holding my breath like reading full of characters original stories.
Author touches also some important subjects. How difficult as somebody grew up in a remote place to became a full form writer, because such a person is devoided of all world literary and cultural heritage and is like somebody hung in vacuum.
He writes also about phenomenon of popularity of Indian writers on the West. Naipaul accuses them of writing books which are only sentimental journeys to the past, skillful told family stories, without social and historical background of the country. They dont see real India but they have idealistic picture of this land. Naipaul went to conclusions that Indian writers in exile must instead of escape, face to complicated problems of modern India and also very complicated past of this country. Only then contemporary Indian writers can gain a remarkable place in world literature.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
I started with this sometime back, and when work life got hectic, kept it aside, to pick up again recently, in two minds whether I should. I ended up rereading parts I had read, and while I was tempted to take away a star for Naipaul being what he is -- leaving a bad taste here and there, sweeping in his judgements here and there -- Im going to keep all five, mainly because of the way he redeems himself in the last chapter, towards the end, where he mercilessly (well, thats to be expected of him, still) dissects contemporary Indian writing scene. A chapter, if not the whole book, thats a must read for any aspiring Indian writer (or non-Indian for that matter, but more so for Indian).

The book has a digressive character, and seems to spend a lot of time on things that seem inconsequential, but then, almost every time, become consequential to the books subject, that itself is quite sweeping in its scope.

I know lot of guys who do not pick up Naipaul because of his image, or because he turns them off due to his prejudices. I myself am tempted (more so with his non-fiction writing, his fiction I wouldnt turn my back on in any case). But the value that he bring to table is just too much to throw it away because of the unease. And Im glad I did not succumb to that temptation, at least with this book.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
A remarkable book about writing from the man who, as the Observer says, ‘more than anybody else embodies what it means to be a writer.’ Though the ideas in the book, a sort-of condensation of a lifetime of thinking deeply about these particular topics, are in themselves extraordinary, it is still the writing that seems to take your breath away. There is a weight in the tone and the narration, a certain seriousness. He is not requesting your attention here, he is demanding it. And a couple of pages into the book, you have given in completely. He never lets you go until the last page is turned and you breathe a sated sigh of content.

This is a great writer writing about the things he knows and understands best. Read.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
General consensus is that I should look for the merits of this book beyond the apparent arrogance and malice of the author. But, frankly, even with arrogance and malice put aside - this book is very shallow and it is much less than what it could have been, considering the writer is so learned.

Dont get me wrong, book is very readable, I finished it in a day. But when I picked it, it expected to learn about writing, a writers influences and so on. The book focuses on how a writers outlook can be different- however, the way it is done is an irritant to me. Instead of talking about positive influences, laudable influences, Naipaul has instead chosen to pick up few writers, their works and bash them up on their ineffectiveness and mediocrity. Only Walcott and Gandhi seemed to be two people who hadnt earned his complete ire. If Flauberts Madame Bovary was briefly praised, then he was bashed paragraph after paragraph for Salammbô.

His writing of Derek Walcott, which I thought was much generous, considering Naipauls malice for Anthony Powell (I couldnt really understand the relevance of that particular criticism) led to famous Walcott-Naipaul feud. Walcott wrote a poem called Mongoose for Naipaul and presented at a litfest: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/...

He praised Walcotts first book and writes:

From this situation he was rescued by the American universities; and his reputation there, paradoxically, then and later, was not that of a man whose talent had been all but strangled by his colonial setting. He became the man who had stayed behind and found beauty in the emptiness from which other writers had fled: a kind of model, in the eyes of people far away.

Naipaul concentrates on disparate views and then dwells into Indian view of looking and yet not seeing anything. He so generously informs us how Gandhi has no knowledge of world, maps before he left for London. Other than Ramayana told by his maid, he was unaware of history, cultures and scripture and how everything Gandhi was result of events in his life. Wow, man, we needed Sir Vidya to tell us that. He further goes on to foretell how India will never have another since no one will have opportunity to such exposures in London and South Africa. Sheer genius!

Rahman, writer of Autobiography of an indentured Indian laborer and Nirad C Chaudhari were two other authors who were further bashed up for their perspectives. So much for an educative book, you learn, but you learn with lot of malice. And then Sir Vidya succinctly summed up how Indian literature scene was dry and unpromising. :sigh:

Book lacks a detailed eye; it is more written as an argument to a pre-defined conclusion based on personal biases. More than perspectives, book tells more about the writer who is dour, pompous and malicious at times.

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