Befitting the Landscape
This chapter examines V.S. Naipaul’s semi-autobiographical novel, The Enigma of Arrival. While Naipaul appears to have complete faith in canonical values and virtues of an English countryside learned from his colonial education and literary readings, his Caribbean experience surfaces when coming to terms with an imagined literary geography of his new home. While Naipaul may perceive solace and healing in the Wiltshire Downs in which he makes his home, some of that peace in fact comes from associations he makes with images and memories of his childhood in Trinidad. Naipaul’s view of his rural English surround also reveals an English pastoral literary tradition he learned as a boy, and while much of it is celebratory of the English tradition, it is nonetheless shaped by his Caribbean upbringing in significant ways.