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The Nightwatchman's Occurrence Book: And Other Comic Inventions 0th Edition

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0375708336
ISBN-10: 0375708332
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Editorial Reviews


“V. S. Naipaul is the world’s writer, a master of language and perception.” –The New York Times Book Review

“As delightful as anything Naipaul has written.” –The New York Review of Books

“V. S. Naipaul has a substantial claim as a comic writer. . . . This humor, conducted throughout with the utmost stylistic quietude, is completely original.” –Kingsley Amis, The Spectator

From the Inside Flap

V. S. Naipaul's legendary command of broad comedy and acute social observation is on abundant display in these classic works of fiction-two novels and a collection of stories-that capture the rhythms of life in the Caribbean and England with impressive subtlety and humor.
"The Suffrage of Elvira is Naipaul's hilarious take on an electoral campaign in the back country of Trinidad, where the candidates' tactics include blatant vote-buying and supernatural sabotage. The eponymous protagonist of "Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion is an aging Englishman of ponderously regular habits whose life is thrown into upheaval by a sudden marriage and unanticipated professional advancement. And the stories in "A Flag on the Island take us from a Chinese bakery in Trinidad-whose black proprietor faces bankruptcy until he takes a Chinese name-to a rooming house in London-where the genteel landlady plays a nasty Darwinian game with her budgerigars. Unfailingly stylish, filled with intelligence and feeling, here is the work of a writer who can do just about anything that can be done with language.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375708332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375708336
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,725,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This volume is actually three books in one: The Suffrage of Elvira (1961), Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion (1963), and A Flag on the Island (1967), the first two are novels and the last a collection of short stories culminating in the title novella.
The Suffrage of Elvira was the second novel published by Mr. Naipaul, and although it is a pleasant diversion, it lacks the impact of his later work. Describing the seemingly hapless attempts of its protagonist to get elected in a small district in Trinidad, corruption is expected by all the major players and accepted by all with humorous resignation. I enjoyed the book, but cannot strongly recommend it on its own. Because I have recently discovered Naipaul, I am attempting to work my way through some of his works in a chronological fashion, and this is an early step.
Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion was Naipaul's first novel set entirely in England, and it is a quietly understated portrayal of a middle aged man's re-affirmation of life. Believing he is about to enter the winter of his life, alone and without any real accomplishment to speak of, he suddenly finds himself married and with a new occupation. He approaches these changes in his personal life and career with a newfound vigor, only to become dissatisfied with both. As he relapses into apathy once again, he finally recognizes that his fatalism is unfounded, and that another spring lies in wait. This was my favorite from this volume: the characters were well delineated and sympathetic, and as always Naipaul's prose shines.
A Flag on the Island is a collection of stories including an expanded scene with a different perspective from his novel A House for Mr.
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