Magic Seeds

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A stunning novel of the present moment that takes us into the hearts and minds of those who use terrorism as an ideal and a way of life, and those who aspire to the frightening power of wealth.

Abandoning a life he felt was not his own, Willie Chandran (the hero of Half a Life) moves to Berlin where his sister’s radical political awakening inspires him to join a liberation movement in India. There, in the jungles and dirt-poor small villages, through months of secrecy and night marches, Willie — a solitary, inward man — discovers both the idealism and brutality of guerilla warfare. When he finally escapes the movement, he is imprisoned for the murder of three policemen. Released unexpectedly on condition he return to England, he attempts to climb back into life in the West, but his experience of wealth, love and despair in London only bedevils him further.

Magic Seeds is a moving tale of a man searching for his life and fearing he has wasted it, and a testing study of the conflicts between the rich and the poor, and the struggles within each. Its spare, elegant prose sizzles with devastating psychological analysis, bleak humour and astonishing characters. Only V. S. Naipaul could have written a novel so attuned to the world and so much a challenge to it.

From the Hardcover edition.


It had begun many years before, in Berlin. Another world. He was living there in a temporary, half-and-half way with his sister Sarojini. After Africa it had been a great refreshment, this new kind of protected life, being almost a tourist, without demands and without anxiety. It had to end, of course; and it began to end...
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"Contains the heft and accumulated experience that have made Naipaul probably the most essential English-language novelist of our time."
New York magazine

"A novel of careful craft … fresh ideas, unexpected turns."
The Globe and Mail

"[Naipaul] is a modern master of the multiple ironies of resentment, the claustrophobia of the margins. In a world in which terrorism continually haunts the headlines, Naipaul’s work is indispensable."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"When Naipaul talks, we listen."
The Atlantic Monthly

Praise for Half a Life:
“Naipaul is a master of English prose and the prose of Half a Life is as clean and cold as a knife.”
—J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize

“Here, sentence by sentence, is the consummate craftsmanship, the perception, the precision, the style.”
The Globe and Mail