The Enigma Of Arrival

by Naipaul, V S

An autobiography for the most part, the book is composed of five sections reflecting the growing familiarity and changing perceptions of Naipaul upon his arrival in various countries. 

The majority of the action takes place in Wiltshire, England, where Naipaul has rented a cottage in the countryside. He sees the area around his cottage as a frozen piece of history, unchanged for hundreds of years. However, during his extended stay at this cottage where he is working on another novel, he notices the area for what it is: a forever changing place with ordinary people simply existing away from the rest of the world. This causes the author to reflect upon the nature of perceiving our surroundings and how much these perceptions are affected by our preconceptions.  

He reflects on his own emigration from Trinidad to New York City, and his following removal to England and Oxford. Naipaul’s novel illustrates the growing understanding of his place in this new environment and the complicated relations of the people and land around them. 

First Edition Identification and Notes

The book was first published in 1987 by Viking Press, London, in hardcover format  with 318 pages. 

Published in 1987 by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. This edition has black cloth over green boards with titles in gilt to upper board and spine, 354 pages. 


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