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

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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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