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.

V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul

Profession: Author
Nationality: British

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I read many things. I read to fill in my knowledge of the world.

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.

When the man was totting up the fare, all the de luxe supplements, he worked the sum out twenty times on the adding machine. The same sum, twenty times. Why? Did he think the machine was going to change its mind?

In fact, the only person who seemed to examine the event with some astonishment was myself, who marvelled that such a turn in my life could occur so easily.

Look, boys, it ever strike you that the world not real at all? It ever strike you that we have the only mind in the world and you just thinking up everything else? Like me here, having the only mind in the world, and thinking up you people here, thinking up the war and all the houses and the ships and them in the harbour. That ever cross your mind?

I still think it's really quite wonderful when I read a sentence of mine and it has that quality of lastingness.

I'm very content.

There may be some part of the world – dead countries, or secure and by-passed ones – where men can cherish the past and think of passing on furniture and china to their heirs. Men can do that perhaps in Sweden or Canada.

That element of surprise is what I look for when I am writing. It is my way of judging what I am doing - which is never an easy thing to do.

I profoundly feel that people are letting you down all the time.

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

It is important not to trust people too much.

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.

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.