by V.S. Naipaul - £12.99 Pan Macmillan (Picador) (2010)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780330522847 | ISBN 10: 0330522841
A passionate and vivid recreation of the history of Trinidad by the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. V.S. Naipaul has gone back more than once to the illuminations of this startling and original book. It is the most human kind of history, done with a novelist’s eye. Living characters large and small are rescued from the records and set in a larger, guiding narrative – about the New World, empire, African slavery, revolution – which is never less than gripping.
"What I had known of Trinidad as a child had seemed to me ordinary, unplanned, just there, with nothing like a past. But the past was there: in the schoolyard, below the saman tree, we stood perhaps on the site of Dominique Cert’s Bel-Air estate, where in 1803 the slave commandeur or headman, out of a twisted love for his master, had tried to poison the other slaves. More haunting than this was the thought of the vanished aborigines, on whose land and among whose spirits we all lived."There are two linked themes: the grinding down of the aborigines during the long rivalries of the foolish El Dorado quest; and then two hundred years later, in the man-made wilderness, the man-made horror of the new slave colony.
(From Reading and Writing by V.S. Naipaul, 2000)
(Price & availability last checked: December 2018)