The Nightwatchman’s Occurrence Book

And Other Comic Inventions

Publisher: Vintage Canada
(includes The Suffrage of Elvira, A Flag on the Island and Mr. Stone and the Knights Companion)

Written early in V. S. Naipaul’s prolific career, these three works of fiction — two novels and a collection of stories — are ample evidence of his cosmopolitan reach and his seemingly effortless command of broad comedy and acute observation.


i. The Bakshes

Democracy had come to Elvira four years before, in 1946; but it had taken nearly everybody by surprise and it wasn't until 1950, a few months before the second general election under universal adult franchise, that people began to see the possibilities.

Until that time Baksh had only been a...
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“A Tolstoyan spirit.... The so-called Third World has produced no more brilliant literary artist.” — John Updike

“Naipaul is a master of English prose.” — J. M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books

“V. S. Naipaul has a substantial claim as a comic writer.... This humor, conducted throughout with the utmost stylistic quietude, is completely original.” — Kingsley Amis, The Spectator

“Mr. Naipaul travels with the artist’s eye and ear and his observations are sharply discerning.” — Evelyn Waugh

“For sheer abundance of talent there can hardly be a writer alive who surpasses V. S. Naipaul. [He is] the world’s writer, a master of language and perception.” — The New York Times Book Review