An Area of Darkness

V. S. Naipaul

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20 August 2020
352 pages

A classic of modern travel writing, An Area of Darkness is Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul’s profound reckoning with his ancestral homeland.

Part of the Macmillan Collector’s Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is introduced by internationally acclaimed author Paul Theroux.

Traveling from the bureaucratic morass of Bombay to the ethereal beauty of Kashmir, from a sacred ice cave in the Himalayas to an abandoned temple near Madras, Naipaul encounters a dizzying cross-section of humanity: browbeaten government workers and imperious servants, a suavely self-serving holy man and a deluded American religious seeker. An Area of Darkness also abounds with Naipaul’s strikingly original responses to India’s paralyzing caste system, its acceptance of poverty and squalor, and the conflict between its desire for self-determination and its nostalgia for the British raj. This may be the most elegant and passionate book ever written about the subcontinent.

Brilliant . . . true autobiography arises when a man encounters something in his life which shocks him into the need for self-examination and self-exploration. It was natural that a sojourn in India should provide this shock for Naipaul. The experience was not a pleasant one, but the pain the author suffered was creative rather than numbing. An Area of Darkness is tender, lyrical, explosive and cruel


Written with the expected beauty of style . . . Instead of diminishing life, Naipaul ennobles it

Anthony Burgess

The conclusion is both heart-breaking and bracing: the only antidote to destruction – of dreams, of reality – is remembering. As eloquently as anyone now writing, Naipaul remembers