Monday, January 25, 2010

Magic Seeds by V.S. Naipaul

You were on the outside because you wanted to be. You’ve always preferred to hide. It’s the colonial psychosis, the caste psychosis. You inherited it from your father.

In the Magic Seeds V.S. Naipaul continues the saga of Willie Chandran which he began in Half a Life. Willie is born into an (almost) post-colonial world into which he finds a brilliant array of options but none that are quite suitable. In the final portion of Half a Life we find Willie living in Africa with his Portuguese girlfriend only to experience further alienation as the colony is plunged into Civil War.

Magic Seeds opens with Willie dreaming about having returned from Africa to Berlin where he is living with his sister. His actual life, clambering through the jungles of India in the company of guerilla fighters, is becoming unbearable and Willie longs to return to Europe which, in time, he does. But not before he stumbles through miles of jungles being forced to sort his way through a phantasmagoric world of psychopaths and abecedarians.

The Magic Seeds was certainly not V.S. Naipaul’s finest work and pales in comparison to his better work like In a Free State. Nevertheless, few writers can portray the tangled mass of humanity and confusion of the postmodern and post-colonial era with such conviction as V.S. Naipaul.


Christopher said...

<3 Naipaul

Josh said...

I want to read "A House for Mr. Biswas" next.

Christopher said...

A House for Mr. Biswas is fantastic.