What is it about VS Naipaul that inspires such dispute? For much of the past four decades, he has lived peripatetically, returning, again and again, to the Caribbean, where he was born, to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, Africa and the Americas, a restless traveller grappling with the post-colonial era. His work has a superb worldliness. Not since Conrad has a novelist so completely absorbed himself in the shifting complexities of his age, or written more sharply about the dark places of the world. Certainly no contemporary novelist shares his gift of watching, of noticing, or his willingness to travel…
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