I’ve read Miguel Street long before I’ve read what V. S. Naipaul said about women writers. He was the talk of the town with his not so attractive personality and absurd statements. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it on The Guardian but here is the gist: “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think [it is] unequal to me.”
On top of that, he criticised women writers for their narrow world views, and sensualities thus received a lot of criticism. That is why I’ll never read his books even if he won all the literary awards.
Miguel Street is not a bad book. I can even say that he would have been one of the authors that I’d like to read more than once.
His characters are quite entertaining and sincere. Everything takes place in Miguel Street, which is in Trinidad, the birthplace of the author. While reading about the residents of the street; I realised that I grew up with interesting characters.
A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say “Slum!” because he could see no more. But we who lived there saw our street as a world, where everybody was quite different from everybody else.Miguel Street – V. S. Naipaul
To sum up, this is an easy book, which you can finish in one sitting. But I won’t recommend it since the author thinks he is better than women writers.
About the book: Miguel Street
Miguel Street, V. S. Naipaul’s first written work of fiction, is set in a derelict corner of Port of Spain, Trinidad, during World War Two and is narrated by an unnamed, precociously observant neighbourhood boy. We are introduced to a galaxy of characters, from Popo the carpenter, who neglects his livelihood to build `the wild thing without a name’, to Man-man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion, and the dreaded Big-Foot, the bully with glass tear ducts. As well as the lovely Mrs Hereira, in thrall to her monstrous husband.
V. S. Naipaul writes with prescient wisdom and crackling wit about the lives and legends that make up Miguel Street: a living theatre, a world in microcosm, a cacophony of sights, sounds and smells – all seen through the eyes of a fatherless boy. The language, the idioms and the observations are priceless and timeless and Miguel Street overflows with life on every page. This is an astonishing novel about hope, despair, poverty and laughter; and an enchanting and exuberant tribute to V. S. Naipaul’s childhood home.
About the author: V. S. Naipaul
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul TC, most commonly known as V. S. Naipaul, and informally, Vidia Naipaul, was a Trinidadian-British writer of works of fiction and nonfiction in English.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: