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A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul
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A House for Mr. Biswas (1961)

by V. S. Naipaul

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English (51)  Dutch (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Full of the anxieties that plagued V.S. Naipaul in his early writing life. Mr. Biswas is a tortured soul, broken down by indecision and the strictures of poverty, and familial culture. Naipaul suffered too. His struggle to say something convincing on the page drove him to depression; this book was his breakthrough.
The lucky character who escapes the tyranny of his family and its mean culture is Mr Biswas' son, Anand. He gains a qualification to study and live in England, as did V.S. The letters home to Trinidad decrease. He has found a home, just as Mr. Biswas at the end of his life, finds his own house.
Wonderful reading.
  ivanfranko | Nov 8, 2017 |
A simple story, touching at times with Mr Biswas's perseverance, stubbornness and how he deals with circumstances when he is swept along by them. Not a likeable person but you do feel a touch of pity when he dies. The story reminds you not to be like him i.e. to be swept along by life. ( )
  siok | Jan 30, 2017 |
I read this because of an online book club. Actually I don't remember much about it except that it was long. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
The story of Mr. Biswas, from birth to death, is a tale of a man struggling to break free from the confines of his island, his class and his stifling family. Much of Mr. Biswas' unpopularity with those around him is due to his rebellion against slipping quietly into the role he has been assigned by his culture, the family he marries into, and even the island of Trinidad itself. His quest for a house he can call his own represents his constant internal battle: to stake his claim in the world and be recognized as a man with intelligence and ambition. He is, in his own words, a man who wants to "paddle his own canoe," a phrase the rest of his family mocks him with for his entire life.

The book is comic, but also sad, especially at the end. Largely autobiographical, the novel draws upon Naipaul's experiences growing up in Trinidad and watching his father battle for self-respect and some recognition of achievement as a journalist and writer. Long, but elegantly written, the book is well worth the reader's time. Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable and complex character, as are many of the multitude of other characters in the book, especially his wife and mother-in-law. Few of us probably know much about the culture of Trinidad, and this book provides a fine overview of the mix of cultures, beliefs and lifestyles that make up this island. ( )
2 vote kishields | Apr 6, 2016 |
Naipaul waivers on the brink between comedy and tragedy - a bit like the real world. Remorselessly depressing, this is the tale of a dream that never quite becomes a reality. Mr Biswas is all of us - every one of us who has ever tried to step outside the norm and has faced the unrelenting intensity of disappointment. Mr Biswas is that part of us that is full of rage at the machine, facing insurmountable odds. The only thing missing is a Sancho Panza who might succeed at inserting a bit more humor into this quest for an impossible dream. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For this book written between 1957 and 1960 A Late Dedication
P.A.N.
31 July 1932, Gloucester
3 February 1996, Salterton
First words
Ten weeks before he died, Mr. Mohun Biswas, a journalist of Sikkim Street, St. James, Port of Spain, was sacked.
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Disambiguation notice
Una Casa Para El Senor Biswas (Contempora) is the same work as A House for Mr Biswas
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375707166, Paperback)

The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul’s brilliant career, A House for Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul's father that has been hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels.

In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous–and endless–struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man’s quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:40 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Heartrending and darkly comic, this book masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against the backdrop of post-colonial Trinidad.

» see all 5 descriptions

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