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V. S. Naipaul's Quotes

V. S. Naipaul profile photo

Born: 1932-08-17
Profession: Novelist
Nation: Trinidadian
Biography of V. S. Naipaul

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

Tags: Place, Small, Young

I have a very small public.

Tags: Public, Small

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

Tags: Cannot, Father, Mother

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

Tags: Read, Woman, Writing

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

Tags: Quality, Read, Wonderful

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

Tags: Reading, Writer

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

Tags: Thought, Tough, Writer

I'm very content.

Tags: Content

I've been a free man.

Tags: Free

I've never abandoned the novel.

Tags: Abandoned, Novel

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

Tags: Dead, Hostility, Writer

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

Tags: Meet, Paris, Wish

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

Tags: Sit, Talk, Writing

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.

Tags: Alone, Sit, Write

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

Tags: Become, Reputation

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.

Tags: English, Fate, India

In England people are very proud of being very stupid.

Tags: England, Proud, Stupid

It is important not to trust people too much.

Tags: Trust

Judgment is contained in the act of trying to understand.

Tags: Act, Trying, Understand

Making a book is such a big enterprise.

Tags: Big, Book, Making

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

Tags: End, Lives, Write

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

Tags: Book, Dirty, Writing

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.

Tags: Good, She, Writer

Nothing was made in Trinidad.

Tags: Born, Self, Work

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

Tags: Makes, Truth, Try

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

Tags: British, City, Council
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The biography of a writer - or even the autobiography - will always have this incompleteness.

Tags: Biography, Writer

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

Tags: Darkness, Existed, Outside

The writer is all alone.

Tags: Alone, Writer

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

Tags: May, Simple, Society

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

Tags: Attitude, General, Past

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

Tags: Strength, Strong, Write

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

Tags: Character, Fiction, Write

Writers should provoke disagreement.

Tags: Provoke, Writers

Writing has to support itself.

Tags: Support, Writing

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.

Tags: Life, Mystery, Writing

We made no inquiries about India or about the families people had left behind. When our ways of thinking had changed, and we wished to know, it was too late. I know nothing of the people on my father's side; I know only that some of them came from Nepal.

Tags: Father, Left, Thinking

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.

Tags: Fun, Place, Said

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.

Tags: Child, Children, Knowing

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.

Tags: Book, Career, Others

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.

Tags: Simple, Thought, Understand

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.

Tags: After, Start, Understand

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.

Tags: Learn, Left, 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.

Tags: Business, Foolish, Rather

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.

Tags: Another, Country, Culture

In Trinidad, where as new arrivals we were a disadvantaged community, that excluding idea was a kind of protection; it enabled us - for the time being, and only for the time being - to live in our own way and according to our own rules, to live in our own fading India.

Tags: Idea, Rules, Time

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.

Tags: Good, Heart, Lost

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.

Tags: Another, Experience, Life

The first 50 years of the cinema were absolutely great years. Original minds were at work establishing the ways to tell a story. And what is happening now is a copying, a pastiche-ing of what was done by great men.

Tags: Great, Men, Work

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.

Tags: Become, Greatest, Longer

The reason is that they define how I have gone about my business. I have trusted to intuition. I did it at the beginning. I do it even now. I have no idea how things might turn out, where in my writing I might go next.

Tags: Business, Reason, Writing

There are certain things that are too painful for people to even write about sometimes, and there are certain things that are too hard to read about again.

Tags: Again, Hard, Sometimes

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.

Tags: Easy, Put, Talk

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.

Tags: Ask, Give, True

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.

Tags: Easy, Energy, Yourself

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.'

Tags: History, Matter, Past

Whatever extra there is in me at any given moment isn't fully formed. I am hardly aware of it; it awaits the next book. It will - with luck - come to me during the actual writing, and it will take me by surprise.

Tags: Book, Moment, Writing

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.

Tags: Easy, Judging, Writing

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.

Tags: History, Mean, Whole

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.

Tags: Become, Hard, Lost

One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.

Tags: Comedy, Deepest, Moment

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

Tags: Become, Men, Place

A cat only has itself.

Tags: Cat

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

Tags: End, Eyes, Needs

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

Tags: Home, Night, Place

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

Tags: Home, Knew, Looking

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.

Tags: Friends, Nice, Talk

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

Tags: Letting, Profoundly, Time

I will say I am the sum of my books.

Tags: Books, Sum

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

Tags: Life, Listen, Short

The world is always in movement.

Tags: Movement

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

Tags: Done, Someone, Understand

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.

Tags: Crisis, Life, Political

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

Tags: Cannot, Dying, Said

Africa has no future.

Tags: Africa, Future

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

Tags: Kicked, Understand

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

Tags: Father, Read, Stories

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

Tags: Facts, Lies, Writer

But everything of value about me is in my books.

Tags: Books, Value

Great writing can be done in biography, history, art.

Tags: Art, Great, History

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

Tags: Reading, Writer

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

Tags: Authority, Speak
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