UCC general minister applauds Obama on marriage equality
A Night to Remember


GuerrillasGuerrillas by V.S. Naipaul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last Naipaul I read, A House for Mr. Biswas, disappointed me, but this one has great force. It is a complex rumination on post-colonial life -- identity, race, power, sex, and politics.

Set in an unnamed Caribbean island based on Naipaul's own Trinidad, the island is independent and self-governing, but still dominated by the British colonial elite. The main characters are white liberals who find their politics and sentimentality overcome by events, particularly in their complex relationships with a local politician and a local black power revolutionary. Throughout the novel the dread is slowly unwinding until the terrifying ending.

Since I have read Patrick French's biography of Naipaul, I can't read Naipaul anymore without the lens of that biography. Naipaul had arranged for French to write an authorized biography, and French's final work is highly critical of Naipaul the person, painting him as misogynist, ambitious, arrogant, and a user in a way that destroys the women in his life. Naipaul allowed the biography to go forward, but has dismissed its portrayal of him.

I couldn't distance myself from reading Naipaul' portrayal of Jane, one of the main characters in Guerrillas, as itself misogynistic. So, that adds it own layer of complexity -- not only are gender and sex important themes in the novel, they are in the approach to the story by the author and reader.

View all my reviews


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)