Latest Issue

VS Naipaul

To his critics he is an arrogant apologist for colonialism and a cheerleader for Hindu nationalism. To his admirers he is the finest writer in the English language and creator of a new literary form. Jason Cowley talks to the literary King of rootlessness and finds him content, at last, with life and England

By Jason Cowley   June 1998

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…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect