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Quotes of the day: V.S. Naipaul

Published Sunday, August 16, 2015 @ 5:07 PM EDT
Aug 16 2015

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, TC (b August 17, 1932), is a Trinidad-born Nobel Prize-winning British writer known for his comic early novels set in Trinidad, his bleaker later novels of the wider world, and his autobiographical chronicles of life and travels. Naipaul has published more than 30 books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some 50 years. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.

Anybody can be decisive during a panic; it takes a strong man to act during a boom.

Certain emotions bridge the years and link unlikely places.

Everybody is interesting for an hour, but few people can last more than two.

Government that breaks its own laws can also easily break you.

How we flounder when emotion overtakes us.

I profoundly feel that people are letting you down all the time.

It is wrong to have an ideal view of the world. That's where the mischief starts. That's where everything starts unravelling...

It's very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing... if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you've got it half-made. I mean intellectually.

Life doesn't have a neat beginning and a tidy end, life is always going on. You should begin in the middle and end in the middle, and it should be all there.

Life is a helluva thing. You can see trouble coming and you can't do a damn thing to prevent it coming. You just got to sit and watch and wait.

Men need history; it helps them to have an idea of who they are.

Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.

My life is short. I can't listen to banality.

One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.

One isn't born one's self. One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people's ideas- and you have to work through it all.

Small things start us in new ways of thinking.

The chaos lies all within.

The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.

The world is always in movement.

The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.


(August 17 is also the birthday of Mae West.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, V.S. Naipaul


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