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A way in the world

In almost everything he writes, VS Naipaul hangs his arguments and prejudices from a seductive personal narrative that is jewelled with detail. His latest essay collection, about his early development as a writer, includes a beautiful account of his friendship with Anthony Powell

By Ian Jack   October 2007

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A Writer’s People: Ways of Looking and Feeling, by VS Naipaul Picador, £16.99

Being too young when I tried to read them, or perhaps too provincial or of the wrong class, I never got much joy from A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell’s 12-novel sequence depicting a certain type of English life—the type Powell knew best—in the middle years of the last century. I enjoyed other novels by Powell—his first, Afternoon Men, and his last, The Fisher King—but the series that was said to be his masterpiece seemed…

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