A Way in the World (1994) is a ‘sequence’ of nine narratives including autobiography, fiction, history, scholarship, and imagined versions of actual lives. (The American edition describes the book as ‘a novel’ rather than ‘a sequence’.) It is set in Trinidad or places, such as South America and Africa, which have associations with its history. Many of the characters in the stories are real persons, some are fictionalized or composite versions of well-known people, while still others are invented. Details of Naipaul’s life can be found placed throughout the volume which offers some of the most personal remarks he has made concerning the ways colonialism had limited the possibilities of self-realization in Trinidad, as well as the historical and ethnic reasons for his estrangement from the Port of Spain he loved as a youth. The narrator is Naipaul, a Naipaul talking to the reader about a place he left some forty years earlier, at times has revisited, and about how it has changed. The stories include memories of Naipaul’s youth and family life, his first attempts to become a writer, and how he was influenced by anti-Indian racism on the part of black politicians.
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