Mihir Bose

Who is Naipaul? Some Thoughts on English Fiction

Recently I met one of those well upholstered English girls who clearly give the lie to the widely expressed lament about the demise of the ‘nice girl’. The occasion, a dreary press lunch by a tiresome nationalised industry with more PR zeal than imagination, was much lightened by her good humour and curiosity.

She ate with gusto, drank liberally and she asked questions that stumped many of the PR men. Sometime during the afternoon I discovered that she had in fact been a student of English Literature in King’s College, but had now forsaken Shakespeare to work for a magazine of the pre-cast concrete industry and was full of revolutionary faith in the regenerative capacity of British industry. ‘Did you know’, she asked me, ‘that almost anybody can make pre-cast concrete – it is almost a backyard operation,’ in tones that would have done Mao Tse-Tung in Great Leap Forward phase proud.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • . is next week! The programme is excellent and there are free copies of Literary Review, to boot! ,
    • 'Britain's spy chief in the Congo replied to a fellow peer who asked her whether SIS played any part in its prime m… ,
    • This month Lucy Popescu covers the plight of poet Galal El-Behairy and activist Wael Abbas in Egypt's crack-down on… ,
    • 'I fear that defending an 18th-century agrarian economist against – well, against whom exactly? – is not the best u… ,
    • 'He lacks empathy with all but the wealthy and has no grasp of the struggles faced by the majority of his concitoye… ,
    • Here's Richard Vinen's review of A Certain Idea of France by Julian Jackson: ,
    • RT : James Crabtree's 'Billionaire Raj' - my review for . "...For sheer chutzpah, India’s billionaires provid… ,