Naipaul’s first phase consisted of four works of fiction and a travel book about the Caribbean in which his manner is amused or satiric. His second phase comprises two novels set in England, a travel book about India and a history of early Trinidad. His manner is more serious and there is an increasing attraction to and resistance against traditional Indian passivity and fatalism. His year in India marked a major crisis in his life by revealing there could be no return to his origins, but in England he continued to feel a colonial outsider in exile from the political disorder of the decolonizing Third World. Feeling unsettled, unrooted, he began questioning his life and the life of being a writer. What was to be his subject matter and his relationship to English literature? What was he really writing about — society, his past, himself, the artist, the world, the relationship of art to what? Now that England and India had failed as homes could he return to Trinidad despite its preoccupation with race? Because of such concerns the novels became more densely layered, with a variety of significances, many levels of meaning, ranging from the autobiographical to the philosophical.
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