A House for Mr. Biswas

V.S. Naipaul
Rating: 5

Biswas. What can I say. It … it just really started to bore me around the 200-page mark. I gave it an additional 110 pages after that.

You could see from the writing why he won a Nobel prize; his powers of observation are formidable. He’s a gifted story-teller. Early on in the novel there were events that seemed to be packed with 10 levels of meaning.

But then the novel seriously bogged down; page after page after page of not particularly interesting mini-dramas between Biswas and his varied families.

I made it to Part II, where Biswas moves to the capital of Trinidad and Tobago and starts working for a newspaper, and I thought, “Aha, now this will start to pick up,” but, wrong. It then immediately picked up with the family melodramas.

I leave open the possibility that this was part of Naipaul’s plan: a 400-page set-up for 100 pages of world-class literary pyrotechnics, but, I could not hang with this book.

I wouldn’t un-recommend it though, it is highly likely that my boredom indicates a low IQ or lack of character.