Naipaul's world view should not eclipse his great talent
Stabroek News
December 10, 2001

Dear Editor,

If we assume that the Nobel committee gave V.S. Naipaul the prize because of the current world opinion and Naipaul's denigration of Islam, then we must forget all those recipients that went before him. There is no worth in the committee.

V.S. Naipaul's writings reflect certain bitterness, and a hatred of colonial reality, of which he was a part, maybe because he would not have achieved what he did without moving away from it. He felt certain resentment against those who never offered the opportunities that he was given in Great Britain. One cannot fault the man for this.

It is not fair to allow his worldview to eclipse his great ability to paint, in sometimes singular detail, caricatures of what he perceives as hopeless societies. A novel is hardly a complete biography, only so much can be told.

The Nobel committee, in granting him a prize after so long a time, has done well. Naipaul, in this, typifies his characters. Now their voice has been heard, let us not dwell on Naipaul's bitterness, but rather analyze the talent that bore so much fruit. Teach others his art.

Let us be careful too that we do not breed other Naipauls.

Yours faithfully,

Mark A.C. Blair