A WAY IN THE WORLD - 1994
This book generated a new kind of Naipaulian criticism of which this is a fine example.
David Henderson writes: “After seven years, Naipaul returns to fiction to explore the sources and implications of his feelings of rootlessness, the realities of the colonial experience, the impact of cultural displacement, and our need to belong.” Varistha Persad in “Finding Safe Spaces: V S Naipaul and the Rewriting of History: Juxtaposing Past, Present and Future in A Way in the World” published in Seepersad and Sons: Naipaulian Synergies, finds “the ‘textual units’ or ‘fragments’ of narrative become keys to grasping a relational sense of self.” Rhonda Cobham-Sander in her essay “Consuming the Self: V S Naipaul, C L R James and A Way in the World” argues that Naipaul uses Lebrun, loosely based upon C L R James, as a foil and mirror for himself and his co-optation that accompanies fame. David Omowale Frankyn argues how the government of Grenada has consistently encouraged the growing of ground provisions as against the deep-seated prejudices against local agricultural produce quoted in The Middle Passage and A Way in the World. William Pritchard feels: “As with Enigma, the best parts of it are distinctly autobiographical.” Caryl Phillips perceives the book as “a beautiful lament to the Trinidad he[Naipaul] has so often denigrated”: “His subject is himself. But his theme is a tender and delicate one: it is death.” Shirley Chew reads “A Way in the World as a complex and dynamic re-engagement with Trinidad as landscape and cultural memory.” She feels that the “parts [are] held together by a number of narrative devices, for example, the "I" persona, location, structural images (such as those related to seeing and perspective), and controlling motifs (such as "unwritten" stories and lost landscapes).” Stephanie Jones argues that in A Way in the World, “Naipaul’s need to identify himself becomes a complex positioning of himself within a hybrid of genres – ‘‘autobiography’’, ‘‘history’’, ‘‘the novel’’ – which is a conjuncture of both the particularities of his experiences and ancestral history and the revelations of fictionality.”