My life is short. I can't listen to banality.

All the things that were read to me by my father were stories about things becoming all right.

It's very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing... if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you've got it half-made. I mean intellectually.

In a way my reputation has become that of the curmudgeon.

I grew up in a small place and left it when I was quite young and entered the bigger world.

An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.

I don't know why they still building houses," Mr Biswas said. "Nobody don't want a house these days. They just want a coal barrel. One coal barrel for one person. Whenever a baby born just get another coal barrel. You wouldn't see any houses anywhere then. Just a yard with five or six coal barrels standing up in two or three rows.

If a man begins writing at thirty, by the time he is fifty or sixty, the bulk of his work has been done. By the time he is eighty, he's got nothing more, you know?

The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.

I find that the most difficult thing in prose narrative is linking one thing with the other. The link might just be a sentence, or even a word. It sums up what has gone before and prepares one for what is to come.

The tragedy of power like mine is that there is no way down. There can only be extinction. Dust to dust; rags to rags; fear to fear.

Reality is always separate from the ideal; but in Trinidad this fantasy is a form of masochism and is infinitely more cheating than the fantasy which makes the poor delight in films about rich or makes the English singer use and American accent.

The ancillary aspect of every British city now is the council estate.

Some writers can only deal with childhood experience, because it's complete. For another kind of writer, life goes on, and he's able to keep processing that as well.

Everywhere else men are in movement, the world is in movement, and the past can only cause pain.

Neither my father nor grandfather could put dates to their stories. Not because they had forgotten or were confused; the past was simply the past.

I could meet dreadful people and end up seeing the world through their eyes, seeing their frailties, their needs.

Each book, intuitively sensed and, in the case of fiction, intuitively worked out, stands on what has gone before, and grows out of it. I feel that at any stage of my literary career it could have been said that the last book contained all the others.

I had seen how deep in nearly every West Indian, high and low, were the prejudices of race; how often these prejudices were rooted in self-contempt; and how much important action they prompted. Everyone spoke of nation and nationalism but no one was willing to surrender the priviledges or even the separateness of his group.

Women make up half the world; and I thought I had reached the stage where there was nothing in a woman's nakedness to surprise me. But I felt now as if I was experiencing anew, and seeing a woman for the first time.

A complying memory has obliterated many of them and edited my childhood down to a brief cinematic blur.

I thought: How dare you lecture me about history and loyalty, you slave? We have paid bitterly for people like you. Who have you ever been loyal to, apart from yourself and your family and your caste?

In a cell like mine you very quickly become aware of your body. You can grow to hate your body. And your body is all you have: this was the curious thought that kept floating up through my rage.

But I thought: That is the sound of war. That sound of a steady, grinding machine made me think of guns; and then I thought of the crazed and half-starved village people against whom the guns were going to be used, people whose rags were already the colour of ashes. This was the anxiety of a moment of wakefulness; I fell asleep again. When.

If a writer doesn't generate hostility, he is dead.

Writers should provoke disagreement.

I'm very content.

Non-fiction can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies.

If you decide to move to another country and to live within its laws you don't express your disregard for the essence of the culture. It's a form of aggression.

Certain emotions bridge the years and link unlikely places.

Home is, I suppose just a child's idea. A house at night, and a lamp in the house. A place to feel safe.

The world outside existed in a kind of darkness; and we inquired about nothing.

To go back home was to play with impressions in this way, the way I played with the first pair of glasses I had, looking at a world now sharp and small and not quite real, now standard in size and real but blurred.

Out of every kind of nervousness I didn't move.

Me black and beautiful' was the first thing she taught me. Then she pointed to the policeman with the gun outside and taught me: ‘He pig.

That life was full of rules. Too many rules; it was a prepacked kind of life.

But at night, if you were on the river, it was another thing. You felt the land taking you back to something that was familiar, something you had known at some time but had forgotten or ignored, but which was always there. You felt the land taking you back to what was there a hundred years ago, to what had been there always.

I have trusted to my intuition to find the subjects, and I have written intuitively. I have an idea when I start, I have a shape; but I will fully understand what I have written only after some years.

In Trinidad, where as new arrivals we were a disadvantaged community, that excluding idea was a kind of protection; it enabled us - for the time being, and only for the time being - to live in our own way and according to our own rules, to live in our own fading India.

Making a book is such a big enterprise.

You would say that he felt that money had made him holy.

I forgot my fear. In this way fear, the feeling that everything could at any moment go, became background, a condition of life, something you had to accept.

You need someone to see what you've done, to read it and to understand it and to appreciate what's gone into it.

I've been a free man.

One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.

And how are you, Ferdinand?" "You don't have to ask. You mustn't think it's bad just for you. It's bad for everybody. That's the terrible thing. It's bad for Prosper, bad for the man they gave your shop to, bad for everybody. Nobody's going anywhere.

For Shama and her sisters and women like them, ambition, if the word could be used, was a series of negatives; not to be unmaried, not to be childless, not to be an undutiful daughter, sister, wife, mother, widow.

I will say I am the sum of my books.

A cat only has itself.