Magic Seeds - By V. S. Naipaul


Magic Seeds

“Naipaul has a great gift for … crushingly economical observations…. [His] books … are passionately engaged with the world.”

—The New York Review of Books

“An elegant little story—with a moral…. What is distinctive [is] the light that it sheds on India, especially rural India.”

—The Wall Street Journal

“A masterful and evocative writer…. The language is clear and readable…. [His] ideas are rich, provocative, and worthy.”

—Rocky Mountain News

“Original, ruthlessly honest, intellectually stimulating and masterfully written.”

—The Times (London)

“There is a terrible purity to the prose. It is clean and dry, tough but never brittle…. [Magic Seeds] revisit[s] most, if not all, of the themes, obsessions and social worlds of his earlier fiction.”


“Offers a gripping glimpse at the sadness of a dream deferred.”

—Entertainment Weekly

“Bleakly comic…. Full of all Naipaul’s exact and cumulative brilliance.”

—The Guardian

“A remarkably astute … witness to the world with an extraordinary contribution to literature.”

—The Village Voice

“Riveting…. Masterful prose … indelible images.”


“[Naipaul] has achieved the top of his form.”

—The Star-Ledger (Newark)

“Magic Seeds occupies an identifiable place in Naipaul’s philosophy, and those who generally enjoy his work will like what’s here. Readers unfamiliar with his work have much to gain as well…. His precise art offers something revelatory.”

—The Plain Dealer

“Richly drawn…. Vivid and revealing.”

—The Decatur Daily

“Beautiful, enchanting prose…. In some ways, Willie [Chandran] embodies every character Naipaul has created in his brilliant career.”

—Associated Press


Magic Seeds

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-five 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.



Literary Occasions

The Writer and the World

Between Father and Son: Family Letters

Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples

India: A Million Mutinies Now

A Turn in the South

Finding the Center

Among the Believers

The Return of Eva Péron (with The Killings in Trinidad)

India: A Wounded Civilization

The Overcrowded Barracoon

The Loss of El Dorado

An Area of Darkness

The Middle Passage


Half a Life

A Way in the World

The Enigma of Arrival

A Bend in the River


In a Free State

A Flag on the Island*

The Mimic Men

Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion*

A House for Mr. Biswas

The Suffrage of Elvira*

Miguel Street

The Mystic Masseur

*Published in an omnibus edition entitled

The Nightwatchman’s Occurrence Book

LATER—IN THE teak forest, in the first camp, when during his first night on sentry duty he had found himself for periods wishing only to cry, and when with the relief of dawn there had also come the amazing cry of a far-off peacock, the cry a peacock makes in the early morning after it has had its first drink of water at some forest pool: a raucous, tearing cry that should have spoken of a world refreshed and remade but seemed after the long bad night to speak only of everything lost, man, bird, forest, world; and then, when that camp was a romantic memory, during the numbing guerrilla years, going on and on, in forest, village, small town, when to travel about in disguise had often appeared to be an end in itself and it was possible for much of the day to forget what the purpose of the disguise was, when he had felt himself decaying intellectually, felt bits of his personality breaking off; and then in the jail, with its blessed order, its fixed timetable, its protecting rules, the renewal it offered—later it was possible to work out the stages by which he had moved from what he would have considered the real world to all the subsequent areas of unreality: moving as it were from one sealed chamber of the spirit to another.


The Rose-Sellers

IT HAD BEGUN many years before, in Berlin. Another world. He was living there in a temporary, half-and-half way with his sister Sarojini. After Africa it had been a great refreshment, this new kind of protected life, being almost a tourist, without demands and without anxiety. It had to end, of course; and it began to end the day Sarojini said to him, “You’ve been here for six months. I may not be able to get your visa renewed again. You know what that means. You may not be able to stay here. That’s the way the world is made. You can’t object to it. You’ve got to start thinking of moving on. Do