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The Enigma of Arrival [Paperback]

V. S. Naipaul
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Sep 2002
A moving and beautiful novel of the transformation of rural England. Taking its title from the strangely frozen picture by surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico, the Enigma of Arrival is the story of a young Indian from the Crown Colony of Trinidad who arrives in post-imperial England and consciously, over many years, finds himself as a writer. As he does so, he also observes the gradual but profound and permanent changes wrought on the English landscape by the march of "progress", as an old world is lost to the relentless drift of people and things over the face of the earth. But while this is a novel of dignity, compassion and candour it is also, perhaps surprisingly, a work of celebration.

Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (6 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330487159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860467202
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 678,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'entrancing' -- Spectator

About the Author

V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River and The Mystic Masseur, and ten books of non-fiction including An Area of Darkness and Among the Believers. He has won the Booker Prize, the John Llewelyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the WH Smith award and in 1993 was awarded the first David Cohen British Literature Award. His new novel, Half A Life, was published in September 2001. Shortly afterwards he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He lives in Wiltshire.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fiction-autobiography Hybrrid 15 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The novel is fiction-autobiography hybrid by Nobel Laureate, V. S. Naipaul. It principally portrays the transformation of the (im)migrant identity upon arriving into an alien land and culture. A well written book which I highly recommend.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enigma of Engagement 26 Nov 2010
As with an earlier reviewer, I couldn't get on with this book the first time I took it up. In fact, I detested what I percieved as a deliberately obscure use of language. But when I took it up again, I managed to relax and to accept the layers of ambiguity on display from the first paragraph, and so entered the author's world. Perhaps Naipual is as egotistical a man as portrayed in the biography of him written by his one-time friend, Paul Theroux. But, as a writer, Naipaul does manage to communicate - unusually successfully - that he is alive, albeit in an uncaring universe. And that as Naipaul (the book's protagonist as well as its author) studies that tiny bit of the universe that is accessible to him (to begin with its just the view from a rented cottage in Wiltshire) the universe becomes a little less foreign and unfriendly a place.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely moving 30 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I was surprised that this magnificient book had not been reviewed.It is a long time since I read this novel, but I still remember the plaintive intelligence of the prose and the haunting landscapes.I recognise some of the stranger's emotions, and there were sections that were almost too painful to read.
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17 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling,beautiful. 12 Sep 2001
By A Customer
I was unable to engage with the tempo of this book at first, but on my second attempt I was completely absorbed.The plaintive prose creates haunting scenes, that are almost too much to endure.I think this is one of VS Naipaul's best books.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea 4 July 2011
By Harry18
I bought this book because so many people I know rave about Naipaul. I just could not get into the book and gave up early on. I am not sure why and will, at some point, have another go. I have a suspicion that I didn't like the central character and when that happens it is rare that I enjoy a book.
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