Human Conditions: ‘A House for Mr Biswas’ by V.S. Naipaul

Pankaj Mishra and Adam Shatz

In A House for Mr Biswas, his 1961 comic masterpiece, V.S. Naipaul pays tribute to his father and the vanishing world of his Trinidadian youth. Pankaj Mishra joins Adam Shatz in their first of four episodes to discuss the novel, a pathbreaking work of postcolonial literature and a particularly powerful influence on Pankaj himself. They explore Naipaul’s fraught relationship to modernity, and the tensions between his attachment to individual freedom and his insistence on the constraints imposed by history. 

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