A Book, Read – #2/2015 – Naipaul, V. S. – Magic Seeds

When I finished reading Half a Life I decided I would read more Naipaul to kick off the New Year.  So, from the four books I have of his that I hadn’t yet read, I picked, entirely at random, Magic Seeds.  To my pleasure I discovered that it was the sequel to Half a Life.

I think Magic Seeds is a stronger book.  In it, Willie, now in his early forties, abandons his comfortable (though apathetic and lazy) life in Germany with his sister to join a revolutionary group in India.  He feels strongly for the idea of revolution, but not particularly this revolution, or those people’s ideas.  He discovers late that he has joined the wrong group, but resigns himself to it.

Later, Willie returns to London.

And that’s the book.  Willie is, in a way, a strong example of the modern man’s proclivity toward doing something without knowing what it actually is.  At the end of Willie’s life, he has accomplished nothing, done nothing at all, really, and even his thoughts – which he relies on as his sense of his own value – remain undeveloped and weak.  It isn’t even clear if Willie could accomplish something if he set his mind to it – but he won’t.

The Books, Read page contains a list of all of the books I have read this year.


A Book, Read – #1/2015 – Naipaul, V. S. – Half a Life

After reading Half a Life I am starting to reconsider my previous lack of appreciation for V. S. Naipaul.  Consequently, I think I am going to read the other couple of books of his that I own, and then culminate it all with A House for Mr Biswas.

In short – similar to J. M. Coetzee’s Youth, though less bleak and more sexually confused.  India and London work well, but Portuguese Africa does not.  At ~220 it is, I think, about forty pages too long, but the vast majority of this book is simply excellent.

And the Books, Read list has been updated for the first book read in 2015.