The Enigma of Arrival

V. S. Naipaul

20 August 2020
464 pages


Taking its title from the strangely frozen picture by the surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of Arrival tells the story of a young Indian from the Caribbean arriving in post-imperial England and consciously, over many years, finding himself as a writer.

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 Harvard Professor, Maya Jasanoff.

The Enigma of Arrival is the story of a journey, from one place to another, from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England, and from one state of mind to another. Finding depth in the smallest moments – the death of a cottager, the firing of an estate’s gardener – V. S. Naipaul also comprehends the bigger picture, as the old world is lost and the English landscape is changed by the march of ‘progress’. This is a moving and beautiful novel told with great dignity, compassion and candour.

Written with the expected beauty of style . . . Instead of diminishing life, Naipaul ennobles it
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
A wonderful book . . . a magical book