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Publisher's Summary

The story of a writer's singular journey - from one place to another, from the British colony of Trinidad to the ancient countryside of England, and from one state of mind to another - is perhaps Naipaul's most autobiographical work. Yet it is also woven through with remarkable invention to make it a rich and complex novel.

©2018 V. S. Naipaul (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Enigma of Arrival

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    4 out of 5 stars

It isn't an arrival, may be a Leisurely Layover

This is my first book of VS Naipaul, one of the very few novels I read / listened to.

Being-objective is a dangerous excuse for all of us, to 'do-well' people; immigrants in our own right. May be just migrated to nearby cities or foreign lands, most of us are aliens in our own surroundings. Sure, we do not notice the landscapes, seasons, and have no luxury of leisure to notice the changing colors of grass or the various sounds of our surroundings. Obviously we have no patience for the reflections of a man in his late fifties, having arrived at nothing but having layover in a journey of seeking..
He has nth specific to say or prove, there isn't any argument or theory. There were only reminiscences, searching for the details from those memories, the details that weren't noticed at the time, that were felt unworthy of noticing at the time. The reflections are about how these changes occurred in his perspective and what more was hidden / missed in his rush to live, to 'do-well'.

Why should we read this work which is more of an abstract, a thought process; Very elaborated descriptions, under the guise of being autobiographical, of random things about his neighbors, surroundings, landscapes, grass along the morning walk paths .. What insights to be gained from this work of a renowned author?
He, a noble laurate and booker prize winner, an immigrant, someone with origins from India and a past in Africa, arrived at a leisurely country side cottage in England.. Someone who turned out to be the one he aimed to become, an author or a professional writer.

If our excuse is, being objective, then this work of Naipaul would take us to the place we seek to go and shows us all that would be left after we arrived at the enigma of it and tells us of all that we will miss along the way. Sure, this book can be read at leisure once we too arrived at that layover in the life, but what use it is then, except to find more reasons to lament up on.

I was lucky to have listened to this book over audible, it only took a week. If I had started out to read this book, I would have left him during his first morning walk itself, while he described the landscapes endlessly. Now that I know of what to look for, through that grass, I feel I should read this book once more, this time I should really READ it.

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  • Chike M Nzerue
  • 02-05-20

A noveau novel

The novel started rather slowly with overly staid descriptions of gardens and the English countryside around Salisbury. One can tell that it's a non fiction novel, although it has elements that suggest fiction. He gives an elaborate description of his sister's funeral and cremation although he was not there. The novel is strongest to me when Naipaul turns the camera on himself and talks about his own losses as the son of the defunct British empire. His tone at times appears condescending towards gardeners and staff at the manor where he lived. His powers of describing characters is impressive. However the book would have been more uplifting if these descriptions also showed the glamor of ordinary prople .

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  • Yas
  • 06-10-20

Quite intriguing

A masterpiece by a master. It is an intriguing work. Written with a tang of arrogance, like only Naipaul can achieve.

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  • FlyGuy
  • 27-02-21

Vance is Totally Terrific!!!!

The most important novel of a Nobel Prize winning author deserves a Nobel Prize-level performance -- and Simon Vance delivers! I almost cried when the performance ended -- partially due to the beauty of Naipaul's writing and partially due to Vance's masterful performance.