AN AREA OF DARKNESS is V.S. Naipaul's semi-autobiographical account - at once painful and hilarious, always concerned - of his first visit to India, the land of his forbears. From the moment of his inauspicious arrival in Prohibition-dry Bombay, bearing whisky and cheap brandy, he began to experience a sense of cultural estrangement from the subcontinent. It became for him a land of myths, an area of darkness closing up behind him as he travelled . . . The experience was not a pleasant one, but the pain the author suffered was creative rather than numbing, and engendered a masterful work of literature that is by turns tender, lyrical, explosive and cruel. With spectacular narrative skill, Naipaul provides a revelation both of India and of himself: a displaced person who paradoxically possesses a stronger sense of place than almost anyone. 'A masterpiece of travel-writing' Paul Theroux 'Brilliant' Observer

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