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Miguel Street Paperback – July 23, 2002
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“Miguel Street is the Bowery, the Tenderloin, and the Catfish Row of Trinidad’s Port of Spain–its citizens a loony multitude whose knavery often rises from real kinship with pathos and tragedy. . . . Naipaul is at his best in these swift caricatures of human depravity.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Amusing and poignant. . . . Excellent reading.” –Chicago Tribune
“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.” –Robert Payne, Saturday Review
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Set during World War II and narrated by an unnamed-but precociously observant-neighborhood boy, Miguel Street is a work of mercurial mood shifts, by turns sweetly melancholy and anarchically funny. It overflows with life on every page.
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Top Customer Reviews
It feels like his first novel. Every chapter is based on a character and his own simple story. All of them are nearly tramps and have tried their life in various ways, but in the end almost all of them return to Miguel Street. If `The Mystic Masseur' is set in the rural Trinidad, then `Miguel Street' is set in the urban Trinidad, its capital Port of Spain. Some of the characters even seem to be of fairy tales.
But the smallness of Trinidad is also felt here. We can feel it at many places like
`There is no stupid pride among Trinidad craftsmen. No one is a specialist.'
The sense of being isolated and unimportant is also eternally present. One can feel oneself to be on the periphery of civilization, eager to know what happens at the centre. One can feel oneself to be bored and neglected. There is no spiritual consolation also. The civilization which they had, was long gone. The new one had never come.
Titus Hoyt says in the novel,
`This fort was built at a time, when the French and them was planning to invade Trinidad.'
We had never realized that anyone considered us so important'
The World War II brought some actions to them as the people from the centre of the world, i.e., Americans came there.
`Then the war came. Hitler invaded France and Americans invaded Trinidad. For the first time in Trinidad, there was work for everybody, and the Americans paid well.'
`Miguel Street' doesn't mean much for an outsider.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Clean copy, good as new. The stories are fascinating and a good introduction to a Nobel laureate's early work.Published 4 months ago by Nozomi Saito
I don't know why this book received as much positive recognition as it did. It's far from Naipal's best.Published 11 months ago by Theresa Treasure
V.S. Naipaul's semi-autobiographical short story collection captures the spirit of Trinidad exceptionally well with each self-contained but interconnected short-story. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Suyo
I read this collection of stories as a High Schooler in the Caribbean and loved it but haven't had a copy in years. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Narelle Ho Sang
The narrator looks back at his youth on a street in 1940s Port of Spain, Trinidad.
"A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say 'Slum! Read more
I think Naipaul won the Nobel in literature a few years ago. I heard that Miguel Streeet was one of his best. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Barbara M