December 26, 1976
By MEL GUSSOW
On the basis of his 13 books--novels, short-story collections,
works of history and travel-- Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul is,
at 44, one of the most significant and original writers in the world
today. His last novel, "Guerrillas," was named by the editors of
The New York Times Book Review as "probably the best novel of 1975."
His admirers include Margaret Drabble, Alfred Kazin and Anthony
Powell. In Britain, where he lives, Naipaul has won almost every
conceivable literary award, such as the prestigious $12,000 Booker
Prize (voted to him in 1971 by, among others, Saul Bellow, John
Fowles and Lady Antonia Fraser). One major award has so far eluded
him--the Nobel Prize--although every year he is mentioned as a primary
contender. One of the crucial questions is: What country would nominate
him? Depending on one's point of view, either he is a man without
a constituency or the world is his country.