V. S. Naipaul Quotes

The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

One isn’t born one’s self. One is born with a mass of expectations, a mass of other people’s ideas – and you have to work through it all.


Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.

The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.

The past has to be seen to be dead; or the past will kill.

It is wrong to have an ideal view of the world. That’s where the mischief starts. That’s where everything starts unravelling.

Everybody is interesting for an hour, but few people can last more than two.

After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.

Home is, I suppose just a child’s idea. A house at night, and a lamp in the house. A place to feel safe.

My life is short. I can’t listen to banality.

An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.

If a writer doesn’t generate hostility, he is dead.

People come and go all the time; the world has always been in movement.

The world is always in movement.

I will say I am the sum of my books.

One always writes comedy at the moment of deepest hysteria.

Life doesn’t have a neat beginning and a tidy end; life is always going on. You should begin in the middle and end in the middle, and it should be all there.

You can’t deny what you’ve learned; you can’t deny your travels; you can’t deny the nature of your life.

We cannot understand all the traits we have inherited. Sometimes we can be strangers to ourselves.

One must always try to see the truth of a situation – it makes things universal.

I think when you see so many Hindu temples of the 10th century or earlier disfigured, defaced, you realise that something terrible happened. I feel the civilisation of that closed world was mortally wounded by those invasions the old world is destroyed. That has to be understood. Ancient Hindu India was destroyed.

All cultures have been mingled forever.

I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.

The world outside existed in a kind of darkness; and we inquired about nothing.

It’s very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing… if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you’ve got it half-made. I mean intellectually.