The Writer and the World

V.S. Naipaul

Naipaul treats the world to his very special acid bath.
“I travel to discover other states of mind. An if for this intellectual adventure I go to places where people live restricted lives, it is because my curiosity is still dictated in part by my colonial Trinidad background. I go to places which, however alien, connect in some way with what I already know. When my curiosity has been satisfied, when there are no more surprises, the intellectual adventure is over and I become anxious to leave.
It is a writer’s curiosity rather than an ethnographer’s or a journalist’s. So while, when I travel, I can move only according to what I find, I also live, as it were, in a novel of my own making, moving from not knowing to knowing, with person interweaving with person and incident opening out into incident. The intellectual adventure is also a human one: I can move only according to my sympathy. I don’t force anything; there is no spokesman I have to see, no one I absolutely must interview. The kind of understanding I am looking for comes best through people I get to like….”

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