Seepersad and Sons: Naipaulian Synergies
This book, based on a conference organised by The Friends of Mr Biswas, explores the writing careers of Seepersad Naipaul and his two sons, Vidia and Shiva, within the sustenance and sometimes pain of family connections – synergies that V.S. Naipaul laboured to conceal.
J. Vijay Maharaj (Editor)
ISBN number
Literary Criticism
Publication date
02 May 2019

This book, based on a conference organised by Friends of Mr Biswas, explores the writing careers of Seepersad Naipaul and his two sons, Vidia and Shiva, within the supportive but sometimes painful closeness of family connections – synergies that V.S. Naipaul sometimes laboured to conceal, as the publishing history of his father’s collection of short stories and Letters between a Father and Son both show. Essays by Brinsley Samaroo and Aaron Eastley focus on Seepersad Naipaul’s importance as a journalist who revealed hidden areas in Trinidadian society, who boldly creolised reporting styles and showed his sons the possibilities of combining fiction and non-fiction. Arnold Rampersad, in his moving essay on his journalist father, Jerome, further makes the case for a tradition of Trinidadian newspaper writing that achieves literary quality. Not only is the father given long-overdue attention, but so too is Shiva Naipaul exploring from different angles, in his deservedly classic novel, Fireflies, the same family territory opened up by Vidia in A House for Mr Biswas.

Some of the essays find new things to say about V.S. Naipaul: Andre Bagoo writes on his fascination with gay sexuality and cinema; another essay deals with the themes of sadomasochism and incest. Hywel Dix advances the idea of “lateness”, in a reading of Magic Seeds, and other essays focus on issues of race, gender and globalisation in the Naipauls’ work. Kevin Frank, for instance, explores the contrast between the father’s engagement with Creole society, and his sons’ recoil, and Elizabeth Jackson and Paula Morgan write respectively on masculinity and motherhood in the Naipauls’ work.

Seepersad and Sons is highly readable because contributors to this book have followed the example and urging of the keynote speaker, Professor Kenneth Ramchand, to address readers beyond an academic circle, and convey the importance of the Naipauls and their literary heritage to the wider society. Writers’ contributions from Sharon Millar, Raymond Ramcharitar and Keith Jardim show just how alive the Naipaulian legacies are. Robert Clarke provides a visual dimension to the book in a photo essay on the St James district of Port of Spain, which contains 26 Nepaul Street, the house for Mr Biswas; and J. Vijay Maharaj writes on the complementary art of Shastri Maharaj.

Contributors include: Kenneth Ramchand, J. Vijay Maharaj, Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Nicholas Laughlin, Aaron Eastley, Brinsley Samaroo, Arnold Rampersad, Robert Clarke, Andre Bagoo, Sharon Millar, Keith Jardim, Raymond Ramcharitar, Kevin Frank, Jim Hannan, Hywel Dix, Elizabeth Jackson, Paula Morgan, Fariza Mohammed, Meghan Cleghorn, Varistha Persad and Nivedita Misra.


J. Vijay Maharaj (Editor)

Vijay Maharaj has lectured at the University of the West Indies since August 2000 and specialises in cultural identity and cultural citizenship in Caribbean Studies. She has essays published in a number of important collections including: Fires of Hope: Fifty Years of Independence in Trinidad and Tobago; Beyond Calypso: Re-reading Samuel Selvon; Contemporary Caribbean Dynamics: Reconfiguring Caribbean Culture; Postscripts: Caribbean Perspectives on the British Canon from Shakespeare to Dickens; V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas: Critical Perspectives; Critical Perspectives on Indo-Caribbean Women’s Literature and Created in the West Indies: Caribbean Perspectives on V.S. Naipaul as well as in journals such as Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, Tout Moun: A Journal of Caribbean Cultural Studies, Journal of the Department of Behavioural Sciences, and The Journal of West Indian Literature.
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