1st edition cover
|Author||V. S. Naipaul|
Miguel Street is a semi-autobiographical novel by V. S. Naipaul set in wartime Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Naipaul wrote it while employed at the BBC using a BBC typewriter and "rustle-free paper."
Miguel Street won the 1961 Somerset Maugham Award.
The novel presents a series of separate episodes of childhood experienced by an unnamed narrator, all happening in and around Miguel Street, a street in western Port of Spain. The book contains a number of idiosyncratic characters, including Mr. Popo, the carpenter who never finishes making anything and is always working on the thing without a name; the poet B. Wordsworth (taking his last name from English Romantic poet William Wordsworth) who is working on the greatest poem ever written but has never written past the first line; and Man-Man, the mad man who becomes a prophet. The book is the story of great ambitions that never went anywhere and are only left for the narrator to remember and record. The narrator himself is part of a group of kids on the street who get into various adventures in the neighborhood. Only the narrator manages, by the end of the story, to escape from Miguel Street and leave Trinidad, with the hope of making something of himself.
The story is written primarily in the first person, with each character getting his or her own chapter; the narrator's experiences are woven in-between, except for the last two or three chapters, which are primarily about the narrator himself.
VIDIADHAR SURAJPRASAD NAIPAUL was born in trinidad in 1932.He left Trinidad in 1950 to read English at University Colledge,Oxford.He subsequently settled in England,although he has travlled extensively.He is the author of many novels and short strories,and his publications include: The Mystic Masseur (Andre Deutsch,1957);The Sufferage of Elvira(Andre Deutsch,1958);Miguel Street (Andre Deutsch,1959);A House For Mr.Biswas (Andre Deutsch,1961); The Mimic Men (Andre Deutsch,1967). ETC
NB=V.S Naipaul was knighted in 1989. TRINIDAD IS A REAL COUNTRY FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T KNOW!!
In a review in the New York Times, Charles Poore says "Miguel Street ... is a beguiling book about growing up in the West Indies. The sketches are written lightly, so that tragedy is understated and comedy is overstated, yet the ring of truth always prevails."
Robert Payne in the Saturday Review says "Naipaul does not tell stories. By some miraculous sleight-of-hand he takes you to Port of Spain and shows you the rich, bawdy, consequential lives of the Trinidadians, as though there were no intervening veil of words... I rather suspect the mantle of Chekhov has fallen on Mr. Naipaul’s shoulders."