Top Quotes from V. S. Naipaul

By | October 9, 2016

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

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

It was a good place for getting lost in, a city no one ever knew, a city explored from the neutral heart outward, until after many years, it defined itself into a jumble of clearings separated by stretches of the unknown, through which the narrowest of paths had been cut.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

The world is always in movement.

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

It is important not to trust people too much.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

I will say I am the sum of my books.

V. S. Naipaul

Each book, intuitively sensed and, in the case of fiction, intuitively worked out, stands on what has gone before, and grows out of it. I feel that at any stage of my literary career it could have been said that the last book contained all the others.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

If a writer doesn’t generate hostility, he is dead.

V. S. Naipaul

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.’

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

To be a writer you have to be out in the world, you have to risk yourself in the world, you have to be immersed in the world, you have to go out looking for it. This becomes harder as you get older because there’s less energy, the days are shorter for older people and it’s not so easy to go out and immerse oneself in the world outside.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

The longer I live the more convinced I become that one of the greatest honors we can confer on other people is to see them as they are, to recognize not only that they exist, but that they exist in specific ways and have specific realities.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn’t know fully.

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

If a man begins writing at thirty, by the time he is fifty or sixty, the bulk of his work has been done. By the time he is eighty, he’s got nothing more, you know?

V. S. Naipaul

Judgment is contained in the act of trying to understand.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

I have trusted to my intuition to find the subjects, and I have written intuitively. I have an idea when I start, I have a shape; but I will fully understand what I have written only after some years.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

It’s very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing… if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you’ve got it half-made. I mean intellectually.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

Africa has no future.

V. S. Naipaul

Writers should provoke disagreement.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

In England people are very proud of being very stupid.

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

If you want to write serious books, you must be ready to break the forms, break the forms.

V. S. Naipaul

One is made by all the things around one. There are many things that have made one. For a writer to go around looking for things that have made him is asking for trouble. It’s like giving a character to yourself. Can’t do it. Can’t do it. These things are just there. Is that enough?

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

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.

V. S. Naipaul

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

V. S. Naipaul

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