V. S. Naipaul quotes

  • The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Men #World

  • One isn’t born one’s self. One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people’s ideas – and you have to work through it all.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Self #Ideas #People

  • It is wrong to have an ideal view of the world. That's where the mischief starts. That's where everything starts unravelling...
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Views #World #Mischief

  • Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #People #Vision #Limits

  • To read a newspaper for the first time is like coming into a film that has been on for an hour. Newspapers are like serials. To understand them you have to take knowledge to them; the knowledge that serves best is the knowledge provided by the newspaper itself.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Firsts #Film #Hours

  • I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Writing #Two #Pieces

  • What matters in the end in literature, what is always there, is the truly good. And- though played out forms can throw up miraculous sports like The Importance of Being Earnest or Decline and Fall- what is good is always what is new, in both form and content. What is good forgets whatever models it might have had, and is unexpected; we have to catch it on the wing.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Sports #Fall #Wings

  • 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.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Ideas #Years #Intuition

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

    #Children #Home #Night

  • Out of its squalor and human decay, its eruptions of butchery, India produced so many people of grace and beauty, ruled by elaborate courtesy. Producing too much life, it denied the value of life; yet it permitted a unique human development to so many. Nowhere were people so heightened, rounded and individualistic; nowhere did they offer themselves so fully and with such assurance. To know Indians was to take a delight in people as people; every encounter was an adventure. I did not want India to sink [out of my memory]; the mere thought was painful.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Memories #Adventure #Unique

  • But everything of value about me is in my books.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Book #Values

  • The world is always in movement.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Movement #World

  • 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.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Writing #Judging #Looks

  • Argentine political life is like the life of an ant community or an African forest tribe: full of events, full of crisis and deaths, but life is always cyclical, and the year ends as it begins.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Years #Year End #Community

  • The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Lying

  • And it was strange, I thought, that sorrow lasts and can make a man look forward to death, but the mood of victory fills a moment and then is over
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Men #Sorrow #Victory

  • I think when you see so many Hindu temples of the 10th century or earlier disfigured, defaced, you realise that something terrible happened. I feel the civilisation of that closed world was mortally wounded by those invasions the old world is destroyed. That has to be understood. Ancient Hindu India was destroyed.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Thinking #World #Invasion

  • After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Ideas #Possibility

  • One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Writing #Hysteria #Comedy

  • An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Lying #Facts #Deceit

  • To this day, if you ask me how I became a writer, I cannot give you an answer. To this day, if you ask me how a book is written, I cannot answer. For long periods, if I didn't know that somehow in the past I had written a book, I would have given up.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Book #Past #Long

  • I will say I am the sum of my books.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Book

  • If ever you wish to meet intellectual frauds in quantity, go to Paris.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Paris #Intellectual #Wish

  • If you write a novel alone you sit and you weave a little narrative. And it's O.K., but it's of no account.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Writing #Littles #Narrative

  • Each book, intuitively sensed and, in the case of fiction, intuitively worked out, stands on what has gone before, and grows out of it.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Book #Gone #Fiction

  • All the details of the life and the quirks and the friendships can be laid out for us, but the mystery of the writing will remain. No amount of documentation, however fascinating, can take us there.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Writing #Documentation #Details

  • How could people like these, without words to put to their emotions and passions, manage? They could, at best, only suffer dumbly. Their pains and humiliations would work themselves out in their characters alone: like evil spirits possessing a body, so that the body itself might appear innocent of what it did.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Pain #Character #Passion

  • It isn't that there's no right and wrong here. There's no right.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

  • The writer is all alone.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #All Alone

  • We made no inquiries about India or about the families people had left behind. When our ways of thinking had changed, and we wished to know, it was too late. I know nothing of the people on my father's side; I know only that some of them came from Nepal
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Father #Thinking #People

  • All the things that were read to me by my father were stories about things becoming all right.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Father #Becoming #Stories

  • Whatever extra there is in me at any given moment isn't fully formed. I am hardly aware of it; it awaits the next book. It will - with luck - come to me during the actual writing, and it will take me by surprise
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Book #Writing #Luck

  • Everybody is interesting for an hour, but few people can last more than two.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Two #Interesting #People

  • We cannot understand all the traits we have inherited. Sometimes we can be strangers to ourselves.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Sometimes #Stranger #Traits

  • A businessman is someone who buys at ten and is happy to get out at twelve. The other kind of man buys at ten, sees it rise to eighteen and does nothing. He is waiting for it to rise to twenty. When it drops to two he waits for it to get back to ten.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Men #Two #Waiting

  • In the beginning, before the arrival of the white men, I had considered myself neutral. I had wanted neither side to win, neither the army nor the rebels. As it turned out, both sides lost.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Army #Winning #Men

  • The Europeans wanted gold and slaves, like everybody else; but at the same time they wanted statues put up to themselves as people who had done good things for the slaves.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #People #Gold #Done

  • Trinidad may seem complex, but to anyone who knows it, it is a simple, colonial, philistine society.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Simple #May #Trinidad

  • Writing has to support itself.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Writing #Support

  • Africa is not a fun place, you know. A fun place is somewhere that lifts the spirits, that cossets the senses. I don't think that can be said of the Africa I traveled in.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Fun #Thinking #Spirit

  • I went to India and met some people who had been involved in this guerrilla business, middle-class people who were rather vain and foolish. There was no revolutionary grandeur to it. Nothing.
    -- V. S. Naipaul

    #Class #People #India

  • Life doesn't have a neat beginning and a tidy end; life is always going on. You should begin in the middle and end in the middle, and it should be all there.
    -- V. S. Naipaul