Thursday, January 12, 2012

A House For Mr Biswas by VS Naipaul

I remember starting this book when younger and tossing it aside as being too boring, but having been amazed at  his biography by Patrick French I was persuaded to revisit this book as it was put forward as a Bookclub Selection by a member who had studied it recently.
What a difference a couple of decades make- I loved it the second time around!
Having suffered the slings and arrows of (not quite)outrageous fortune, quite a few things struck a chord. The story is basically a man's struggle to drag up and better himself from the lowly position in which he had been born. It was quite touching that owning a piece of land where he could finally call his own represented the highlight and zenith of his existence but in fact, although he realises rather late that he missed the childhoods of his children -- the irony is, it is through his children that he managed to achieve an immortality of sorts -- the eldest child fulfilling her filial duty and returning to shoulder the financial burden and become the de facto head when Mr B pegs it and his son - VS himself achieving the lofty heights of the Literary World, who relates the story of his father's life, while taking swipes at the petty-mindedness of the 1940's Trinidadian society.

1 comment:

  1. The whole thing of the story is Mr.Biswas quest to own his own home and when he finally does it is badly made and quite problematic, however he dies without living in it too long - however he has died in his own home thus he has completed his quest. I don't quite like biswas now maybe re-reading in a few years will help too :)