Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Theo Tait reviews Magic Seeds in the LRB:

Magic Seeds, even more than its predecessor, is a horrible novel--icy, misanthropic, pitiless, purposefully pinched in both its style and its sympathies. If The Enigma of Arrival (1987), a sad and wonderful book, belongs to Naipaul's "autumnal stage", this is bleak midwinter: the cold fury before the end.

And Uday Benegal in the Village Voice:

That Naipaul has been, for most of his career, a remarkably astute--if not always accurate--witness to the world with an extraordinary contribution to literature is irrefutable. But Magic Seeds is a life away from his real worth as a writer. The book is mostly prosaic, needlessly repetitive; if nothing else, perfectly symbiotic with Willie Chandran's own flaccid character. Like Willie it stutters and drifts, lacking cogency and depth of spirit. Naipaul himself seems drained of all desire to engage the reader, or too jaded to try.

And I am too jaded today to try to understand the world.

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