Trinidad and Tobago: A Boy Becoming a Man

I was worried Trinidad and Tobago would be another hard country when it comes to finding a book, but then I remembered that I have already once read a book by V.S. Naipaul, so it will not be a problem finding a book. I looked for another author but could not find one. I chose to read A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul for my reading challenge. It is one of his most famous books, and the book that was his breakthrough.

The protagonist is called Mohun Biswas, and he is a Hindu Indo-Trinidadian, much like Naipaul’s father. Biswas is a man looking to make his fortune doing this and doing that, he is constantly failing, but he gets up again and tries. I have to say I really admire that! He then marries a woman from a good family, but the family is dominant, and he finds himself being controlled by them. Biswas finally sets a practical goal in his life; he wants his own house.

Biswas father dies when the boy is still young, and he ends up, together with his mother and two sisters, living with relatives. He has several other misfortunes changing his direction in life, and other people seem to drag him into things he is not happy about. He is both rootless and restless. To give him credit, after so many bad things happening to him, including losing the opportunity of getting an education, he is still a man with pride, and he is willing to improve himself.

In this book the ultimate goal is to have a house. The house is a symbol for overcoming all the bad things in life, becoming the master of your own destiny, belonging somewhere, and achieving a certain status. Even though I admire this a lot, I don’t feel like I need to read about this all in so many words. I felt the book was simply too long. It feels a bit aimless, and I had a hard time to keep my focus on the book.

I can understand that it can be seen as a significant piece of literature, but I would pick many other books before this one when choosing the best books out there. The book is a bit too detailed which makes it too long. I like that the setting is different from many other books and that the point of view id from a minority group, and we can follow the boy becoming a man. I just expected a better flow.

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