Gurudeva and Other Indian Tales
This collection is a pioneering beginning to Indian Caribbeans writing about themselves, the beginnings of the Caribbean short story and highly readable and perceptive portrayal of Indian Trinidad in the process of change.
Seepersad Naipaul
ISBN number
Caribbean Modern Classics
Fiction, Short Stories
Country setting
Trinidad and Tobago
Publication date
16 Jan 2025

When this pioneering collection of short stories was published in 1943, Seepersad Naipaul had years of practice in writing the most vivid journalism about Trinidad and Indian politics, and more recently the experience of working as a trained social worker, a role that gave him unequalled access to the lives of rural Indian Trinidadians – lives that were utterly unknown to the rest of the population. But whilst one element of Naipaul’s motivation in writing these stories was to offer a portrait of otherwise hidden lives, his most powerful wish was to achieve a reputation as a writer. And beyond the acute observations of a community in the process of change, and a deep (and sometimes satirical) empathy for the individual characters trying to make sense of their duality as Indians and Trinidadians, these are stories that show a sophisticated sense of shaping. They are not only still immensely readable but must be seen as important steps in the development of the Caribbean short story.

This collection prints in its entirety the collection that Seepersad Naipaul published in 1943, including those stories that V.S. Naipaul chose to omit in the collection of his father’s stories he published in 1976. In addition, this volume collects as an appendix the stories published in Caribbean magazines and newspapers and broadcast in the Caribbean Voices programme. In its perception that Indians in Trinidad had to embrace their hybridity, in its sympathetic treatment of women, and in its exploration of the inner worlds of a character such as Gopi – perhaps the nearest to a self-satirising portrait (and the story omitted by V.S. Naipaul) – this collection should restore Seepersad Naipaul – in his own right – as an essential figure in Caribbean fiction.

With an introduction by Kenneth Ramchand and Aaron Eastley


Seepersad Naipaul

Born in rural Trinidad in 1906 to an impoverished Brahmin family, Seepersad Naipaul married into the powerful Capildeo family. He found his realisation through his gift for language, working as a journalist for many years. He trained as a social worker during the wartime years. In 1943 He published a pioneering collection of short stories, Gurudeva and Other Indian Tales. He was the father of six children, including the writers V.S., Shiva and Savi Naipaul Akal. He died in 1953. A House for Mr Biswas is both and is not the story of his life.
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