V. S. Naipaul Quotes


You need someone to see what you've done to read it and to understand it and to appreciate what's gone into it.

In the beginning before the arrival of the white men I had considered myself neutral. I had wanted neither side to win neither the army nor the rebels. As it turned out both sides lost.

I've never abandoned the novel.

To be converted you have to destroy your past destroy your history. You have to stamp on it you have to say 'my ancestral culture does not exist it doesn't matter.'

I know my father and my mother but beyond that I cannot go. My ancestry is blurred.

Argentine political life is like the life of an ant community or an African forest tribe: full of events full of crisis and deaths but life is always cyclical and the year ends as it begins.

Some writers can only deal with childhood experience because it's complete. For another kind of writer life goes on and he's able to keep processing that as well.

The biography of a writer - or even the autobiography - will always have this incompleteness.

An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.

I don't feel I can speak with authority for many other people.

What was past was past. I suppose that was the general attitude.

If you write a novel alone you sit and you weave a little narrative. And it's O.K. but it's of no account.

After all we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.

Great writing can be done in biography history art.

The ancillary aspect of every British city now is the council estate.

Many writers tend to write summing-up books at the end of their lives.

If you decide to move to another country and to live within its laws you don't express your disregard for the essence of the culture. It's a form of aggression.

Africa has no future.

I had no student friends to talk to about literature. My tutor was a really nice man very charming - but he had no literary judgment.

At school I had only admirers; I had no friends.

All the things that were read to me by my father were stories about things becoming all right.

The writer is all alone.

Making a book is such a big enterprise.

Some lesser husbands built a latrine on the hillside.

My life is short. I can't listen to banality.

I will say I am the sum of my books.

But everything of value about me is in my books.

Whenever I have had to write fiction I've always had to invent a character who roughly has my background.

In England people are very proud of being very stupid.

I've been a free man.

My grief is that the publishing world the book writing world is an extraordinary shoddy dirty dingy world.

My publisher who was so good as a taster and editor when she became a writer lo and behold it was all this feminine tosh.

All cultures have been mingled forever.

Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.

A cat only has itself.

I came to London. It had become the center of my world and I had worked hard to come to it. And I was lost.

In England I am not English in India I am not Indian. I am chained to the 1 000 square miles that is Trinidad; but I will evade that fate yet.

As a child I knew almost nothing nothing beyond what I had picked up in my grandmother's house. All children I suppose come into the world like that not knowing who they are.

A civilization which has taken over the world cannot be said to be dying.

paradise seemed further away than India but Hell had become a bit closer

If it was Europe that gave us on the coast some idea of our history it was Europe I feel that also introduced us to the lie.

Trinidad may seem complex but to anyone who knows it it is a simple colonial philistine society.

People come and go all the time; the world has always been in movement.

One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.

The melancholy thing about the world is that it is full of stupid people; and the world is run for the benefit of the stupid and common.

Where jargon turns living issues into abstractions and where jargon ends by competing with jargon people don't have causes. They only have enemies.

Judgment is contained in the act of trying to understand.

I feel that at any stage of my literary career it could have been said that the last book contained all the others.

In a way my reputation has become that of the curmudgeon.

All the details of the life and the quirks and the friendships can be laid out for us but the mystery of the writing will remain. No amount of documentation however fascinating can take us there.

Writers should provoke disagreement.

I could meet dreadful people and end up seeing the world through their eyes seeing their frailties their needs.

You can't deny what you've learned; you can't deny your travels; you can't deny the nature of your life.

Ignorant people in preppy clothes are more dangerous to America than oil embargoes.

The Europeans wanted gold and slaves like everybody else; but at the same time they wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves.

There are two ways of talking. One is the easy way where you talk lightly and the other one is the considered way. The considered way is what I have put my name to.

That element of surprise is what I look for when I am writing. It is my way of judging what I am doing - which is never an easy thing to do.

The world outside existed in a kind of darkness; and we inquired about nothing.

I'm my own writer. My material means I'm entirely separate.

I grew up in a small place and left it when I was quite young and entered the bigger world.

I really wasn't equipped to be a writer when I left Oxford. But then I set out to learn. I've always had the highest regard for the craft. I've always felt it was work.

I went to India and met some people who had been involved in this guerrilla business middle-class people who were rather vain and foolish. There was no revolutionary grandeur to it. Nothing.

Africa is not a fun place you know. A fun place is somewhere that lifts the spirits that cossets the senses. I don't think that can be said of the Africa I traveled in.

If ever you wish to meet intellectual frauds in quantity go to Paris.

Everybody is interesting for an hour but few people can last more than two.

I read many things. I read to fill in my knowledge of the world.

And it was strange I thought that sorrow lasts and can make a man look forward to death but the mood of victory fills a moment and then is over

I have always moved by intuition alone. I have no system literary or political. I have no guiding political idea.

If a writer doesn't generate hostility he is dead.

Home is I suppose just a child's idea. A house at night and a lamp in the house. A place to feel safe.

Writing has to support itself.

Life is a helluva thing. You can see trouble coming and you can't do a damn thing to prevent it coming. You just got to sit and watch and wait.

We cannot understand all the traits we have inherited. Sometimes we can be strangers to ourselves.

I became very interested in the Islamic question and thought I would try to understand it from the roots ask very simple questions and somehow make a narrative of that discovery.

Each book intuitively sensed and in the case of fiction intuitively worked out stands on what has gone before and grows out of it.

His ignorance seemed to widen with everything he read.

It is wrong to have an ideal view of the world. That's where the mischief starts. That's where everything starts unravelling...

It is important not to trust people too much.

If writers just sit and talk about oppression they are not going to do much writing.

I'm the kind of writer that people think other people are reading.

I am the kind of writer that people think other people are reading.

The past has to be seen to be dead; or the past will kill.

Africans need to be kicked that's the only thing they understand.

I profoundly feel that people are letting you down all the time.

This is unusual for me. I have given readings and not lectures. I have told people who ask for lectures that I have no lecture to give. And that is true.

When I learnt to write I became my own master I became very strong and that strength is with me to this very day.

I always knew who I was and where I had come from. I was not looking for a home in other people's lands.

The world is always in movement.

Nothing was made in Trinidad.

I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.

Life doesn't have a neat beginning and a tidy end; life is always going on. You should begin in the middle and end in the middle and it should be all there.

Small things start us in new ways of thinking

One isn't born one's self. One is born with a mass of expectations a mass of other people's ideas - and you have to work through it all.

I have a very small public.

The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.

The world is what it is; men who are nothing who allow themselves to become nothing have no place in it.

It isn't that there's no right and wrong here. There's no right.

Men need history; it helps them to have an idea of who they are. But history like sanctity can reside in the heart; it is enough that there is something there.

I still think it's really quite wonderful when I read a sentence of mine and it has that quality of lastingness.

How can you be an atheist and have an ideology to go with it? To be an atheist is to be free of some areas of belief. I don't see how that can become an ideology.

One must always try to see the truth of a situation - it makes things universal.

I'm thought to be a tough writer but I'm really a softie.