A House for Mr Biswas a modern classic


The Irish Independent newspaper has chosen 20 titles in the Lifetime Reads collection of modern classics selected with advice from the writer Colm Tóibin. The list includes  many of the best novels published since 1950, among them V. S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas. The novels have been issued weekly throughout the summer as bargain-priced quality hardbacks available to readers at €4.99. This is what the newspaper had to say about the selection of A House for Mr Biswas as one of their “modern classics.”

The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul’s brilliant career, A House For Mr Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul’s father that has been hailed as one of the 20th century’s finest novels.

Mirroring Naipaul’s own background, the hero of the story, Mr Biswas, is born in rural Trinidad to parents from India. In his 46 short years, Mr Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity.

Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr Biswas yearns for a place he can call home.

But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr Biswas embarks on an arduous — and endless — struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own.

A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House For Mr Biswas masterfully evokes a man’s quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial canvas.

For the complete story go to http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/a-postcolonial-classic-from-a-nobel-laureate-1803788.html

There is also a review of the novel at http://books.independent.ie/book/11

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