The Enigma of Arrival by V. S. Naipaul

The Enigma of Arrival: A Novel in Five Sections is a 1987 novel by Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul. Mostly an autobiography, the book is composed of five sections that reflect the growing familiarity and changing perceptions of Naipaul upon his arrival in various countries after leaving his native Trinidad and Tobago. Most of the action of the novel takes place in Wiltshire, England, where Naipaul has rented a cottage in the countryside. On first arriving, he sees the area surrounding his cottage as a frozen piece of history, unchanged for hundreds of years. However, as his stay at the cottage where he is working on another book becomes extended, he begins to see the area for what it is: a constantly changing place with ordinary people simply living lives away from the rest of the world. This causes Naipaul to reflect upon the nature of our perceptions of our surroundings and how much these perceptions are affected by our own pre-conceptions of a place. He re-examines his own emigration from Trinidad to New York City, and his subsequent removal to England and Oxford. Naipaul's narration illustrates the growing understanding of his place in this new environment and the intricate relations of the people and the land around them. His landlord is modelled on his real-life landlord Stephen Tennant (1906–1987), a 1920s socialite and a "bright young thing" who is also the model for the Hon. Miles Malpractice in novels by Evelyn Waugh and for Cedric Hampton in Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. Naipaul rented a cottage at Tennant's Wilsford House estate, north of Salisbury.

The 1192nd greatest fiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Enigma of Arrival Hardcover 1992566 $39.95 $4.00 1987
The enigma of arrival: A novel in five sections Hardcover 2736801 $45.00 $3.27
The Enigma of Arrival (Macmillan Collector's Library) Hardcover 813795 $17.16 $23.22 2020
The Enigma of Arrival Paperback 7350761 $39.95 $0.01
The Enigma of Arrival Paperback 188399 $7.46 $1.36 1988
El enigma de la llegada / The Enigma of Arrival (Spanish Edition) Paperback 7272472 $6.00 $14.21 2010
The New Yorker, Aug. 11, 1986 "The Enigma of Arrival" Single Issue Magazine 20766418 $7.00 1986
The Enigma of Arrival (Vintage International) Kindle Edition 356722 2010
Enigma of Arrival: A Novel in Five Sections Paperback 5089373 $5.00 $5.99 2011
The Enigma of Arrival: A Novel Audio CD 7745767 $22.60 $35.79 2018
El enigma de la llegada (Spanish Edition) Kindle Edition 1937724 2016
Enigmas and Arrivals: An Anthology of Commonwealth Writing Paperback 18544088 $14.95 $3.38 1997
El enigma de la llegada / The Enigma of Arrival (Spanish Edition) Hardcover 10546252 $216.00 $55.00 2001