The Enigma Of Arrival

This morning I posted

The rest of the day was spent on finishing reading “The Enigma Of Arrival”, by V.S.Naipaul.

The sub-title ‘A Novel’ is necessary, otherwise, particularly as the first person narrator drives in England as a 17 year old Trinidadian, as did the writer.

This outstanding work chronicles the life history of the man interlaced with that of the writer.

It was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who believed

Naipaul demonstrates this in the book. Through three decades he follows the changes in the experiences of a Wiltshire village in which he settles; the gradual dwindling of the significance of a decaying Manor House and its denizens; the development of changes to buildings, countryside, and gardens; the comings and goings of residents, personnel, and their relationships; interwoven lives and deaths.

Simultaneously he progresses the evolution of a neophyte to a maturing author through the device of returning to triggered memories and describing them afresh in later contexts, layering them like the patina of a precious, fondly handled piece of antique treen.

The writer contrasts the cycles of natural seasons with those of humanity and its artefacts; plants like ivy return naturally, whereas others, such as roses need careful maintenance, as do buildings.

The language flows beautifully; bucolic and gardening descriptions are thoroughly delightful. His characterisation has depth and understanding.

I would have been very happy to have possessed the skill to have written this book.

As I was drafting this, Elizabeth e-mailed me a few more photographs from yesterday’s trip.

The forest floor picture fitted quite well with Naipaul’s theme.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; boiled new potatoes in their skins; crunchy carrots; and tender broccoli, green and runner beans, with which she drank Diet Cola, Flo drank Elderflower Cordial, and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.