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Miguel Street (Vintage International) [Kindle Edition]

V.S. Naipaul
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say ‘Slum!’ because he could see no more.” But to its residents this derelict corner of Trinidad’s capital is a complete world, where everybody is quite different from everybody else. There’s Popo the carpenter, who neglects his livelihood to build “the thing without a name.” There’s Man-man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion, and the dreaded Big Foot, the bully with glass tear ducts. There’s the lovely Mrs. Hereira, in thrall to her monstrous husband. In this tender, funny early novel, V. S. Naipaul renders their lives (and the legends their neighbors construct around them) with Dickensian verve and Chekhovian compassion.
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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the few contemporary writers of whom we can speak in terms of greatness.” –Mel Gussow, Newsday

“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


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

?A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say ?Slum!? because he could see no more.? But to its residents this derelict corner of Trinidad?s capital is a complete world, where everybody is quite different from everybody else. There?s Popo the carpenter, who neglects his livelihood to build ?the thing without a name.? There?s Man-man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion, and the dreaded Big Foot, the bully with glass tear ducts. There?s the lovely Mrs. Hereira, in thrall to her monstrous husband. In this tender, funny early novel, V. S. Naipaul renders their lives (and the legends their neighbors construct around them) with Dickensian verve and Chekhovian compassion.
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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 259 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 20, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0046A9JDO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,386 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars hilarious early voice May 11, 2001
Format:Paperback
This novel crackles with laughter and detail, using local language to great effect. While there are some issues of sadness in the background, Naipaul puts the liveliness to the fore, in this, his first novel. He wrote it while freelancing at the BBC, just out of Oxford and a fearfully anxious young man. It is so different from the utter darkness of his later work that it is hard to believe it is from the same pen. But that is a measure of the talent of this man and the breadth of his vision.
Warmly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read March 8, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Naipaul's novel about daily life on Miguel Street is a masterful piece of literature. The characters are colorful and believable, the writing style is fluid and very readable, and the issues raised about (post)colonialism and neocolonialism are oh so real. Entertaining at times; thought-provoking at others--Naipaul's MIGUEL STREET is a must read for any fan of literary genius.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and poignant November 24, 2003
By HORAK
Format:Paperback
A beautiful portrait of the inhabitants of Miguel Street located in a derelict corner of Trinidad's Capital Port of Spain. Set during World War II, the story is narrated by a precociously observant neighbourhood boy. The mood shifts from sweet melancholy to anarchical fun as we discover the lives of Popo the carpenter, Man-man staging his own crucifixion, Big Foot the bully or the lovely Mrs Hereira in thrall to her monstrous husband. An amusing and poignant book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes me laugh just to think about it again! June 5, 2002
Format:Paperback
There's no two ways about it... this book is funny. Witty. Endlessly sarcastic. There I am, reading it in the park, and laughing out loud in certain parts, like a bit of a loonie!
At one point, the author calls what he's doing here "sketches". That's exactly what it is... connected vignettes. Observations of the lives that make up Miguel Street, a street in Port of Spain, Trinidad. It is all set down and seen through the eyes of a young, fatherless boy.
It is written with such a clear eye that it seems autobiographical, and here on Miguel Street we see the germ or the kernel of many of the characters that Naipaul would develop further in his excellent book "A House For Mr. Biswas" which he published two years after this one.
As others have mentioned, the language, the idioms, the vernacular here are priceless... 1940's Trinidad bursts into view.
I give it 4.5 stars. Refreshing. A little book with big laughs!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect 1st novel July 9, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
i agree with alejandro's review: what you bring to this collection of short stories greatly affects how you perceive it. as someone who has (temporarily) left a post-colonial country, i can understand the yearning of the characters to escape, to find a better life, even though most of them aren't quite sure of how to escape and what exactly a better life entails. does the narrator really escape, though? the last paragraph describes him (or at least his shadow) as a dwarf on the tarmac, as though he were deformed (no offense meant to small people) or permanently marked by his efforts to leave somehow. i read "a way in the world" before "miguel street" and it's almost frightening to see how much "miguel street" is a portent of the despair, isolation, and desire in "a way in the world."
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Naipaul Book October 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book was a standard for Literature when I was going to high school. Ten years later, the characters are still as colourful, the prose just as lyrical, and Naipaul still weaves a wonderful story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in its simplicity July 10, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a collection of inter-connected stories and character sketches set in the island of Trinidad, the author's birthplace, years ago when he was a boy. The tales are charming, some funny, some sad, some both, and all are told in Naipaul's short, mostly (if not completely) perfect sentences. Anyone interested in the life and culture of the Caribbean would do well to read and re-read this little gem of a book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of 'Smallness' May 9, 2009
Format:Paperback
The first novel of Naipaul, `The Mystic Masseur', was published in 1957. But the first written work of fiction by him was, `Miguel Street'. He had completed it even before `The Mystic Masseur', but had published it only in 1959.

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 gasped.

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 ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars 'A galaxy of characters',
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
Published 17 days ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Must read. Hilarious!!!
Published 1 month ago by Toni Dwarka
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good!!
Published 2 months ago by Alba Lucia Ring
5.0 out of 5 stars V.S.Naipaul
I think Naipaul won the Nobel in literature a few years ago. I heard that Miguel Streeet was one of his best. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Barbara G Miyamoto
5.0 out of 5 stars V.S. Naipaul's Miguel Street
Great book!! It really captures life in the Caribbean and even though I am from Belize, Central America, we consider ourselves as part of the Caribbean. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Vincent Perez
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Naipaul
This is a very early book by Naipaul. It is full of quirky characters but paints a sort of brutal picture of a poor neigborhood on his home island. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Steven R. Severance
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Storytelling
Good story with a clear and distinctive voice. Very strong writing with a wonderful human element. Very enjoyable reading for any audience.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Miguel Street, An Absolute Joy
"Miguel Street" is an absolute joy that provides a unique take on joie de vivre. Written in 1959, it is an early book by V.S. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Eric Lander
5.0 out of 5 stars My first childhood completed book.
I read this book like 10 times then lost it. I cant wait to buy it again. Its funnier in Trini slang. I dont like the fully english version. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Shopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book !
V.S. Naipaul is one of my favorite authors. This book is very well written and takes you back in time with characters you could relate to, and if your from the Caribbean you could... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Marshaoz
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