Out of the many sad events that unfolded in the last couple of weeks, the passing away of literary Giant, Sir V.S Naipaul was perhaps the lowest moment in the literary corridors. The Nobel Laureate was born in 1932 in rural Trinidad in a Hindu family with Indian roots. I can’t think of any other writer who wrote so extensively and blazingly about the post-colonial reality. Naipaul not only created but actually lived that dual post-colonial existence. His fiction and non-fiction brilliantly explore the complexities and paradoxes of individuals juggling between two worlds, like himself. The master of wit and humor, he didn’t shy away from criticising the third world countries for their own plight. It was a stance which was to attract a lot of flake especially from postcolonial writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Naipaul’s own personal life was controversial too, his misogynistic behavior towards his first wife, Patricia Ann Hale Naipul. A woman whom he cruelly abandoned for his mistress for twenty-five years and his subsequent marriage to Nadira Naipaul. Despite all the absurdities of his own life, no other writer came close to his mastery over language and twist endings. He was the master of wit and dry humor and played so brilliantly with the words. Some of his memorable works are, A House for Mr. Biswas, A Bend in The River and Miguel Street.
Well if there is one writer that I feel could do justice to his style of writing was the great American writer, O.Henry who like Naipaul was exceptionally gifted when it came to twisting endings and sarcasm. Both Naipul and O. Henry narrated stories of ordinary human beings and mundane chores with heightened awareness and observational skills. I can’t think of any writer in the contemporary world who can uplift the level of language as did Naipaul and O.Henry.
Naipul’s demise is a personal loss, for an aspiring writer like me. If there is one writer I wish to write like, it is Sir V.S Naipaul. I yearn as a writer for Naipaul’s dry-humor, clever endings, and the exceptional observational skills. May his soul rest in peace and his work continue to enlighten and entertain the readers for years to come.