Half a Life: A Novel - By V. S. Naipaul

International acclaim for V. S. NAIPAUL and

Half a Life

“Stunning…. Brilliant…. A story of remarkable economy…. Naipaul writes with the haunting efficiency of an ancient legend … powerful and unsettling.”

—The Christian Science Monitor

“A superb exercise, in miniature, of Mr. Naipaul's finest gift, a revelation of history's disastrous impact on private life.”

—The Wall Street Journal

“Naipaul is a master of English prose, and the prose of Half a Life is as clean and cold as a knife.”

—J. M. Coetzee, The New York Review of Books

“Full of memorable passages that astonish by their economy and precision…. Naipaul has clearly not lost his gift … of summing up the sights and smells of a place within a few sentences. His powers as a shrewd observer communicate themselves strongly.”

—The Boston Globe

“As sly and funny as anything Naipaul has written…. Nobody who enjoys seeing English beautifully controlled should miss this novel.”

—Sunday Times (London)

“Brilliant…. Profoundly intimate…. Naipaul is a magical storyteller…. He weaves a complex, nuanced tapestry of colonial and postcolonial character and attitudes, of radical notions and movements, of the immense mysteriousness of singular personal identity. Naipaul, at the peak of his powers, never wastes a word. Half a Life affirms the wisdom of the Swedish Academy. It's a humane book, full of courage, wisdom and memorable reading.”

—The Baltimore Sun

“Magnificent…. With deft, elliptical plotting, Half a Life evokes the draining cost of [a rootless] way of living…. [It consists] of several journeys woven brilliantly into a larger, more restless spiritual one [and] offers a string of gemlike moments, ones where the intricate latticework of colonial identity rises up and makes itself brutally and indelibly felt.”

—Dallas Morning News

“Half a Life confirms Naipaul's stature as the greatest living analyst of the colonial and postcolonial dilemma. Those who have never approved of that analysis, and have objected over the years to what they see as Naipaul's fatalism, snobbery or even racism, may find in this book the surprise of a submerged radicalism, a willingness to see things from the eyes of the disadvantaged.”

—James Wood, The New Statesman

“Pure magic…. I cannot think of another novelist with Naipaul's feeling for the distinctiveness of cultures…. A fine book and no one but Naipaul could have written it.”

—S. R. B. Iyer, The Columbus Dispatch

“Nuanced and evocative…. Here, sentence by sentence, is the consummate craftsmanship, the perception, the precision, the style the Nobel committee lauded as ‘vigilant.’ Here, too, is Naipaul giving rein to comical talents that may not have been at full stretch since he published the incomparable A House for Mr. Biswas in 1961.”

—The Globe and Mail

“[A] gem of a novel…. [Naipaul's] descriptive powers are masterful, and his language spare and economical. Every word counts and conveys meaning…. A very well-crafted and brilliant novel of ideas.”

—The Orlando Sentinel

“A surprise and a pleasure…. Naipaul has produced the most complex and demanding body of work of any post-war British writer…. In sentences of great precision and balance, [he] reanimates the dilemmas of late and post-colonial experience…. He is without peer.”

—The Observer Review

“Beautifully imagined and subtly satiric…. Naipaul presents [a] disturbing social vision in prose that seems stripped of all emotion and yet proves emotionally powerful.”

—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Naipaul writes a prose as clean as a stripped wand, but however plain the language, the ideas it delivers are not…. He is still peerless as a deviser of the shocking icon. He builds a scene of metaphysical loss as compelling as any Renaissance canvas of the expulsion from paradise.”

—The Independent

“A challenging, tantalizing book that … blossoms in the imagination of the reader.”

—San Jose Mercury News

“Almost casually, but beautifully, achieved…. Captures in miniature the trajectory of Naipaul's oeuvre.”

—The Times Literary Supplement

“The latest example of how powerful the search for identity can be in literature.”

—The Buffalo News

“A brief, insightful study of the development of a highly inventive writer.”

—The Seattle Times

“What Joseph Conrad was to his age, V. S. Naipaul is to ours. Conrad's meditation on the world of imperialism has its worthy counterpart in Naipaul's expansive account of postcolonial realities.”

—The New Leader


Half a Life

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at Oxford he began to write, and since then he has followed no other profession. He is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction and the recipient of numerous honors, including the Nobel Prize in 2001, the Booker Prize in 1971, and a knighthood for services to literature in 1990. He lives in Wiltshire, England.



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