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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…

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