The World Is What It Is

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The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul is a biography of the Nobel Prize-winning author V. S. Naipaul by Patrick French. It was published in 2008 (by Picador in the UK and Knopf in the USA). The title is a quotation from Naipaul's book A Bend in the River. The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

French deals with Naipaul's family background and his life from his birth in 1932 until his second marriage in 1996.[1]


The biography has been extensively reviewed:[2][3][4][5] the reviewers include Paul Theroux, who wrote an earlier book about Naipaul.[6]


The biography was selected by the editors of the New York Times Book Review as one of the Times' "10 Best Books of 2008".[7] It won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, and the British literary award the Hawthornden Prize.


  1. ^ French suggests that there may be a sequel.
  2. ^ Packer, George (21 November 2008). "A Life Split in Two". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  3. ^ Massie, Allan. "Living for Literature". Literary Review. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Hussein, Aamer (4 April 2008). "The enigma of survival". The Independent. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  5. ^ Carey, John (30 March 2008). "The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of VS Naipaul by Patrick French". Times Online. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  6. ^ Paul Theroux (April 6, 2008). "Paul Theroux claims new biography reveals the true monster in V S Naipaul". Times Online. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ "The 10 Best Books of 2008". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 December 2008. 
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