The genius and tragedy of Shiva Naipaul

An achievement of greatness with the pen. And a Death Rider Train that took him away.

Repeating Islands


An article from The Hindustan Times.

Shiva Naipaul, the younger brother of VS Naipaul, was born in Trinidad in 1945. He died in London in 1985, of a heart attack, at the age of 40. A life cut brutally short, an end brought on, some say, by his excesses and lack of discipline.

His career as a published writer lasted only 15 years. But in that too-short span, he produced work that has long outlived him. His first two novels, Fireflies (published when he was only 25 years old) and The Chip-Chip Gatherers are acknowledged masterpieces, and – on the authority of writers such as Martin Amis and the late Christopher Hitchens – earn him a place in the canon of contemporary English literature.

Like VS, Shiva won a scholarship to Oxford. Like VS, he had a nervous breakdown while at university. Like VS, he became a published writer…

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