A House For Mr Biswas and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
£8.79
  • RRP: £10.99
  • You Save: £2.20 (20%)
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 10 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Trade in your item
Get a £0.02
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A House For Mr Biswas Paperback – 1 Apr 2011


See all 27 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£8.79
£3.45 £3.19
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
£4.75

Trade In Promotion


Frequently Bought Together

A House For Mr Biswas + A Bend in the River
Price For Both: £16.78

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £0.02
Trade in A House For Mr Biswas for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.02, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330522892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330522892
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

‘A marvellous prose epic that matches the best nineteenth-century novels for richness of comic insight and final, tragic power’ -- Newsweek

‘A work of great comic power qualified with firm and unsentimental compassion’ -- Anthony Burgess --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River and most recently The Masque of Africa, and a collection of correspondence, Letters Between a Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Nundlall on 16 May 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
VS Naipaul's story of the struggle of a poor labourer's son growing up in early 19th century Trinidad is remarkable for its realism - something few people have pointed out, preferring instead to dwell on the oft mentioned tragi-comedy aspect of his writings. Those who come from similar backgrounds in the colonies will surely get the feeling of déjà-vu. For example, one of the things that you aspire to growing up on the islands is to have a house of your own some day, which is what the whole story is about.

Naipaul's trademark comedy permeates the novel - he starts right from the very begining by calling the 21-day old baby Mohun 'Mr. Biswas'. And the name sticks! However, the sense of pathos, gloom and pessimism that surrounds poor Indian immigrants is firmly established from the outset, never to leave the reader even during Mr. Biswas' happier days.

The full characterisation of the people orbiting around Mr. Biswas is left to the imagination of the reader, as Naipaul does not commit to paint the whole portrait of each one of them. The story, even though told by an outside narrator, is nevertheless told from Mr. Biswas' point of view. Therefore this fits Naipaul's characterisation of the 'others' as Mr. Biswas is not your deep, philosophical traditional hero. In fact, he is selfish, uncooperative, rebelious, and as some have said, a 'born loser'. Personally, I don't agree with the loser epithet - I think he is just a product of his background and of the times he is living. For each of the few descendants of indentured labourers who went on to achieve world-wide fame and wealth, there were hundreds of thousands who suffered the same fate as Mr. Biswas.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS is a thoroughly enjoyable book, a family saga-type book of the style that other writers of Indian origin have subsequently written to such great effect. But Naipaul's prose marks him apart - it is not overblown, like Rushdie's, nor somehow insipid, like Vikram Seth's. It is sharp, clear, smooth and wonderfully seductive.
On top of the wonderful prose, the tale is gripping, and the story of Biswas's struggles with work and family and life and position somehow epitomise much about the legacy of colonialism and the nature of ambition and "success".
What is also interesting, and telling, are the few indications of the later racism against black people which has marred Naipaul's more recent public comments - but this should not detract from a wonderful book.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 24 Jun 2006
Format: Paperback
`AHFMB' is the story of Mohun Biswas, a Trinidadian of Indian descent, and his lifelong search for a place to call his own. The book follows his life from his birth, to his early life as he searches for a career to call his own, to his marriage and life with his stifling in-laws, to his first (very belated) attempts at complete independence and finally to his death (with which the book actually begins). Mr Biswas is an everyman: not too bright, not too good-looking, not too strong, and his attempts to make a better life for himself are constantly thwarted by his own failings, and the ambition of those around him. Throughout the whole book Biswas, and all the other characters, are trying to define their roles and find a niche in the new post-colonial Trinidad.

`AHFMB' reminded me a lot of Rushdie's `Midnight's Children', both in its subject matter and its construction. There is a touch of magical realism at the beginning, with Mr Biswas' unlucky sneeze bringing disaster, and the dialogue between the Hindu characters is reminiscent of the lyrical `hinglish' often used by Indian writers. Mr Biswas' story represents a nation finding its new identity post-colonialism on many levels. Firstly, there is the lack of definition suffered by all the characters, as they struggle to find what they can achieve in post-colonial Trinidad. The characters also have more allegorical significance, such as the Tulsi's (Biswas' in-laws) representation of the old (and failing) social order, or other characters representing religious institutions or the influx of new money. `AHFMB' is a very clever observation of a society finding its roles.

The thing that made `AHFMB' such an enjoyable read, was the jaunty style in which it was written.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw on 9 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
It's very rare that you find a book that makes you laugh out loud - and so it's worth treasuring it when you do find one. Mr Biswas is a tragi-comic character who by rights should be up there with Reggie Perrin. His attempts to break free from the sprawling Tulsi family and his desire to make a place for himself in the world make for a sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious conflict. Naipaul's style is reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in its warmth and magic, while the book is a comfortable and enjoyable read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has just been and discussed at the book group of which I am a member. Everyone found something to like in it, but opinions overall differed a lot. It tells of Mr. Biswas, a Trinidadian Hindu (and from a brahmin family, so high-caste), from his birth to his death at the age of 46 (that is no spoiler - we are told of it in the first chapter). The character is based on Naipaul's father, and his son, Anand, on Naipaul himself. Mr. Biswas lives through extreme poverty and difficulty, constantly (as an adult) struggling to assert his individuality in the face of his wife's large and extended family, the Tulsis. His dream is to have his own house and he makes a number of attempts to do so, all more or less doomed until the end of the book, when he has a measure of (very qualified) success - again, we know about that right from the start.

It is a complex book. The society on which it centres, that of Indians living in Trinidad, has its own rules and standards, and I found it fascinating to read about these and see how they worked themselves out. There are constant rows, but they are also supportive and dutiful in times of crisis. Husbands beat their wives and wives their children, but this is almost like an expected ritual, and there is even some pride taken in the effectiveness of these beatings, as if they are a necessary part of family life. Families respect the 'pundit', the wise man in their midst who performs quasi-religious rituals (for example, to bless Mr. Biswas's house at one point), even to the extent that when the pundit decrees that baby Biswas has an unlucky sneeze, everyone believes him.

In the midst of all this is Mr. Biswas, usually sceptical and trying to be himself. And what is he?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback