Monday, June 15, 2009

Half A Life by V.S. Naipaul

A title recommended and passed on to me by my daughter recently. I read it in one afternoon session sitting in the shade in the garden.
As a little boy Willie Chandran wanted to know why his middle name was Somerset. His father explains that it was after the famous British writer Somerset Maugham. Willie of course wants to know why. This is the story that his father gradually tells him, of a son whom possibly should never have been born, while he is growing up and Willie is coming to terms with his origins. Growing up in India he leaves for London in the post war years, eventually falling in love and moving to Africa. A short biographical style story that I found rather sad as he felt he did not belong anywhere. Willie seemed such a pathetic man, hated by his father he appears to wander through his own life aimlessly trying to fit in with those around him. Once a misfit always a misfit; seems the easiest way of describing Willies discomfort with his life.

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