It’s not all fun and games ya know. We are in limbo actually as we wait for the package truck to bring our plastic toilet part. Without it the Love Shack is Sans indoor plumbing. Instead we have devised elaborate procedures for washing dishes and flushing the water closet. Come on Mr. FedEx, please!
Yesterday I completed the reading of V.S. Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival. I have been working through the book for more than 25 days despite its slim 350 pages. It’s not a book I could recommend. Still I have been fascinated by what can be found on those pages. His writing is spectacularly simple. He observes something obvious, like rotting hay in the field, then describes what he sees in sentence after sentence… and often repeating key words of phrases over and over. It’s a shockingly simplistic writing manner but simultaneously arresting and compelling to me. It was this great effort to describe the observed nature of his “new” world in rural England that kept me reading.
About half way through the volume the tone of the writing took a significant turn. The writer became more focused on mnor personalities in his landscape, more judgmental, more petty, less observant but more like common gossip. Insecurity almost like paranoia came to the surface. Since Naipaul was using the memoir format it reflected badly on him as a person. It caused me as a reader to withdraw my approval from the author and his story.
In the last 50 pages the book took another sharp swerve. As the writer turned toward his roots (Indian in Trinidad) and the death of his sister his writing returned to the original childlike storytelling. His recollection, observation and opinions gained depth and gravity he had not previously shown. In the end I’m sure I have never read such close observation of a life lived with so little emotional investment.