Amitava Kumar at CNN:
On October 10, 1953, V.S. Naipaul sent a telegram home to his family in Trinidad. At that time, Naipaul was an indigent student at University College, Oxford; he had arrived in England on a scholarship and had begun writing brief pieces for the BBC’s Caribbean Voices program. Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001, died Saturday in London at the age of 85.
On that day in October 1953, Naipaul was only 21 years old and he had just received the news of his father’s death. His telegram read:
= HE WAS THE BEST MAN I KNEW STOP EVERYTHING I OWE TO HIM BE BRAVE MY LOVES TRUST ME = VIDO
Naipaul didn’t go home; he wouldn’t, in fact, return until several more years had passed. But he paid homage to his father by making him the central character of his fourth novel, “A House for Mr Biswas,” which is regarded by many as one of the greatest novels written in English. Like Mr Biswas in the novel, Naipaul’s father had been born poor. He struggled to discover a vocation and, for a while, succeeded as a journalist.