Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Naipaul's multifaceted look at a multifaceted land

I've just completed reading "AN AREA OF DARKNESS," the first of three travelogues detailing trips the Nobel Prize laureate V.S. NAIPAUL made to the nation of his ancestors, INDIA.
Naipaul views India in its all its horror and beauty -- the crushing poverty and grace under pressure of its people.
He also writes magnificently.
Consider this passage, about the dark shops of the oldest part of Srinagar, in Kashmir:
"Against this drabness, an overwhelming impression of muddiness, of black and grey and brown, colour stood out and was enticing: The colours of sweets, yellow and glistening green, however fly-infested. Here one was able to learn again the attraction of primary, heraldic colours, the colours of toys, and of things that shone, and to rediscover that child's taste so long suppressed, which is also a peasant's taste, erupting here, as in the rest of India, in tinsel and coloured lights and everything we had once considered pretty."
Naipaul has made many observations in this book. India disgusts and fascinates him. He does not seem a conscientious guest, either. He often allows himself to be ruled by his ambivalence to the subcontinent and its multitudes.
I recommend the book, however, for its multifaceted examination of a multifaceted land.


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