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The Enigma of Arrival by V. S. Naipaul

The Enigma of Arrival (1987)

by V. S. Naipaul

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The Enigma of Arrival by V.S. Naipaul is an extremely nostalgic book that makes you question where and what is home. The book was published in the year of my birth, 1987, and has had several covers. This cover, with the wintery road is perhaps my favourite because I feel like it really captures the essence of the book. And too be honest, I’m a sucker for good cover art. That whole judging-a-book-by-its-cover thing is slightly askew for me.

The story is set in five main parts and jumps backwards and forwards throughout time. Naipaul is able to blend past sorrows with bitter sweet tomorrows in The Enigma of Arrival. If you have spent a lot of time away from your home country, or are still far away from what you call home then this is a book that will speak to you.

The book is in many ways a sad pastoral about the narrator’s experiences in the English countryside. It is also about seeing the world differently throughout different times in your life. Weather and geography play a huge part in the development of the story and of the characters. I imagined the descriptions of the English countryside painted in water colour and tinged with a longing much bigger than just missing home.

Naipaul, rather beautifully, manages to show the contrasts of leaving and coming, remembering and forgetting, and connectedness and disconnection. Naipaul shows the difference of reality versus expectation with sometimes brutal honesty and poetry. I can highly recommend this book to any reader, but be warned: this book will leave you with a nostalgia that will take over your heart.

“The river was called the Avon; not the one connected with Shakespeare. Later – when the land had more meaning, when it had absorbed more of my life than the tropical street where I had grown up – I was able to think of the flat wet fields with the ditches as ‘water meadows’ or ‘wet meadows’, and the low smooth hills in the background, beyond the river, as ‘downs’. But just then, after the rain, all that I saw – though I had been living in England for twenty years – were flat fields and a narrow river.” ( )
  bound2books | Feb 12, 2017 |
This seems both an ode to depression and death and may well be the first of the endless modern novels that insist on the right to include an indelible image of cruelty to animals.

Will men never end their hideous cruelties?

Will writers never end their need to horrify us? ( )
  m.belljackson | Jul 16, 2016 |
Sürrealist ressam Giorgio de Chirico'nun Gelişin Bilmecesi adlı dizi tablosundan esinlenen kitap, İmparatorluk sonrası dönemde Karayiplerden İngiltere'ye gelen genç bir Hintlin'in öyküsünü anlatıyor. Naipaul'un en önemli otobiyografik eserlerinden biri olarak, bir diyardan bambaşka bir diyara gitmenin, bir ruh halinden başka bir ruh haline geçmenin hikâyesi üzerinden, en geniş anlamda "yolculuk" temasını işliyor. Ancak yazar, yaratıcılık ve gözlemle birleştirdiği bambaşka bir ağ da örüyor romanda. İngiliz dünyasının, sömür­geciliğin sona ermesiyle başlayan küçülme ve eski görkemini yitirme sürecini, bir malikânenin geçirdiği değişim aşamalarıyla simgeliyor.

Bir komşunun ölümü, malikânenin bahçıvanının işten çıkarılması gibi, gündelik hayatın içindeki sıradan anlarda bile bir derinlik ve dokunaklılık bulan Naipaul, ayrıntılardan geniş manzaralara uzanıyor; "ilerleme" fikrinin engellenemez yükselişiyle yitip giden eski dünyayı, İngiliz coğrafyasında yavaş yavaş meydana gelen kalıcı değişimleri gözler önüne seriyor.
  Cagatay | Jun 10, 2016 |
I found Naipaul's writing to be fascinating and inspiring at the same time. This book starts out slow and there is not much happening but there is a lot of detailed description and you begin to realize how Naipaul sees the common everyday experiences as something beautiful and not so common. His writing flows and is very easy to understand. He describes all the characters in such detail and is very aware of all their behaviors and psychological tendencies. Even without a basic plot, Naipul's command of language keeps the reader turning the pages. This book was definitely worth the effort as it is truly a rare and beautiful book and I look forward to reading more by this remarkable writer. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
Rather vague and yet surprisingly repetitive reflections of his initial experiences outside his native Trinidad. Could find absolutely no connection to his (apparently novelized) telling. Gave up past the half-point. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jan 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
The book lacks the bitter taste of some of his recent writing, but it is one of the saddest books I have read in a long while, its tone one of unbroken melancholy.

After an interesting, and courageous, account of his formation as a writer, Naipaul returns to his Wiltshire microcosm, and it turns out that his narrator's exhaustion and turning-towards-death is mirrored in his tiny world...All this is evoked in delicate, precise prose of the highest quality, but it is bloodless prose.
added by tallpaul | editThe Guardian, Salman Rushdie (Mar 13, 1987)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
V. S. Naipaulprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nielsen, Rose-MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In loving memory of my brother SHIVA NAIPAUL
25 February 1945, Port of Spain
13 August 1985, London
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For the first four days it rained.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394757602, Paperback)

The story of a writer's singular journey—from one place to another, from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England, and from one state of mind to another—this is perhaps Naipaul's most autobiographical work. Yet it is also woven through with remarkable invention to make it a rich and complex novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:45 -0400)

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"The autobiographical novel of a journey from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England."--Publisher's description.

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