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A House for Mr Biswas (1961)

av V. S. Naipaul

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3,387663,678 (3.75)299
Fiction. Literature. HTML:The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul's brilliant career, A House for Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul's father that has been hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels.
In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous??and endless??struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial c… (mer)
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Visa 1-5 av 66 (nästa | visa alla)
I cannot call myself an admirer or a detractor at this point. It's the only thing I've read. I did think, honestly, that he needed a good editor; I thought the book was too long by about 25-30%. It's hard when the protagonist is not entirely a likeable character. Sympathetic in many ways and interesting, to be sure, but not particularly likeable. And many--if not most--of the people in the book are the same: you understand them and can sympathize with them, but it's hard to like them. I also thought that I never really truly got to know any of them, perhaps especially Mohun.
For all the history, for all the stories, for all the interactions, I never felt like I truly understood him and for that I blame Naipaul. He was more interested in putting his characters in a situation and seeing what would happen than he was in helping me truly understand them. Even the background story about Mohun's birth and childhood didn't help. As a result, even after 560 pages, I didn't really find myself invested in the story and didn't care a great deal about any of the characters.I don't mind so much if the characters are not likeable. That I can live with. But if the author doesn't develop them fully enough for me to have some investment in what happens to them, then I don't think he's done his "job."
I guess on some level I think it's a responsibility of the author to create a world where I care what happens in some fashion to the people the story is about. Case in point: I just read a book of short stories by Rubem Fonseca. A complete change of pace; didn't find any of the characters in the stories "likeable." I'm also not a big fan of the violence that pervaded the stories. But he's a smart and clever writer and he made me care what happened to a lot of the people he wrote about. He developed them in a dozen or two dozen pages more than I truly felt Naipaul managed, even after 5. Who knows? Maybe I'm just not clever enough to "get" him. ( )
  Gypsy_Boy | Aug 26, 2023 |
The life of Mohun Biswas was very difficult to read. His only success in life is that he marries well. Nothing else goes as planned for him. From birth, Biswas was a marked man, a hapless man. The Tulsi family he marries into is influential, but brutal towards Biswas; constantly mocking and ridiculing him. Imposter syndrome follows him wherever he goes. This was billed as a tragicomedy but I found very little to laugh about in Mr. Biswas's struggles. Every time he is on the cusp of success, something stands in his way or knocks him down. His dreams of becoming a serious journalist are dashed when no one cares about his stories unless they are sensationalized. His dreams of becoming a respected family man are wasted when even his children turn against him. The one dream he has left, to own his own house, becomes his entire life. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 18, 2023 |
Here's what I wrote about this read in 2008: "Mr. Biswas had it tough. He tried, but surely most often failed. His in-laws were insipid (is that too strong?). His house-building and attempt at independence, what a debacle! Insightful again into the Indian culture (in Trinidad). I should probably read another of Naipaul's books. Learned online that Mr. Biswas' story was inspired by Naipaul's father life." Turns out his wife's family was inspired by Naipaul's (highly accomplished) family. ( )
  MGADMJK | Nov 17, 2022 |
Awesome! ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
VS Naipaul's "A House for Mr. Biswas" is considered a classic by many literary critics. It is about a man who is frustrated up until the very end of his life.

When Biswas is born, a pundit tells his mother that the boy's life will be bitter and painful. As a child, he bounces around until he marries, almost by accident, the daughter of a wealthy and respected Indo-Trinidadian family. Biswas spends the rest of his life trying to live outside the shadow of that family, blaming everyone but himself for a never ending parade of failures that he actually creates.

Many of the characters created by Biswas are reprehensible. There are wife-beaters and wives who accept beatings with pride. Biswas himself is childish with his attitude that the world owes him favors. He beats his own children and never seems to work until he stumbles into the job of a reporter for a national paper, a job he keeps for many years despite the editor knowing he plagiarizes, lies, and exaggerates.

The value in this book is the fascinating mixture of culture that exists throughout the Caribbean. Learning about the industry, customs, and ways of Trinidad is endlessly fascinating. Unfortunately, there are plenty of unnecessary narrations that get in the way of learning about this culture and Mr. Biswas' fate.

The book is long and dense. Reading it can feel like hiking through a swamp at times. The reward that is revealed at the beginning of the book - seeing Mr. Biswas achieve his dream of owning his own home - helped me get through this. ( )
  mvblair | Aug 22, 2022 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
V. S. Naipaulprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Cavagnoli, FrancaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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For this book written between 1957 and 1960 A Late Dedication
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31 July 1932, Gloucester
3 February 1996, Salterton
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Ten weeks before he died, Mr. Mohun Biswas, a journalist of Sikkim Street, St. James, Port of Spain, was sacked.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:The early masterpiece of V. S. Naipaul's brilliant career, A House for Mr. Biswas is an unforgettable story inspired by Naipaul's father that has been hailed as one of the twentieth century's finest novels.
In his forty-six short years, Mr. Mohun Biswas has been fighting against destiny to achieve some semblance of independence, only to face a lifetime of calamity. Shuttled from one residence to another after the drowning death of his father, for which he is inadvertently responsible, Mr. Biswas yearns for a place he can call home. But when he marries into the domineering Tulsi family on whom he indignantly becomes dependent, Mr. Biswas embarks on an arduous??and endless??struggle to weaken their hold over him and purchase a house of his own. A heartrending, dark comedy of manners, A House for Mr. Biswas masterfully evokes a man's quest for autonomy against an emblematic post-colonial c

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