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The Loss of El Dorado By V. S. Naipaul

The Loss of El Dorado

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A passionate and vivid recreation of the history of Trinidad by the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
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The Loss of El Dorado Summary

The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History by V. S. Naipaul

`What I had known of Trinidad as a child had seemed to me ordinary, unplanned, just there, with nothing like a past. But the past was there: in the schoolyard, below the saman tree, we stood perhaps on the site of Dominique Cert's Bel-Air estate, where in 1803 the slave commandeur or headman, out of a twisted love for his master, had tried to poison the other slaves. More haunting than this was the thought of the vanished aborigines, on whose land and among whose spirits we all lived.'

From Reading and Writing by V.S. Naipaul, 2000

V.S. Naipaul has gone back more than once to the illuminations of this startling and original book. It is the most human kind of history, done with a novelist's eye. Living characters large and small are rescued from the records and set in a larger, guiding narrative - about the New World, empire, African slavery, revolution - which is never less than gripping.

There are two linked themes: the grinding down of the aborigines during the long rivalries of the foolish El Dorado quest; and then two hundred years later, in the man-made wilderness, the man-made horror of the new slave colony. The Caribbean slave plantations were thought at the time to be more brutal than the American, and this brilliantly researched book, with its accumulation of casual, awful detail, takes us as close as we can get to day-to-day life in the slave colony. Nothing gracious here, in spite of the various titles of nobility; only an opportunist, near-lawless community living on its nerves, always fearful of slave suicide or poison, of African sorcery and revolt, with the infamous Port of Spain jail, and its daily horrors (the planters paid the whipping and torture fees), always in the background, the only protection against chaos.

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The Loss of El Dorado Reviews

"History as literature, meticulously researched and masterfully written." -"The New York Times Book Review
""A formidable achievement. . . . No historian has attempted to weave together in so subtle a manner the threads of the most complex and turbulent period of Caribbean history." -"The Times Literary Supplement"
"Brilliant. . . . Startling." -"New Statesman"
"A remarkable book. . . . Intelligent, humane, brilliantly written." -"Book World"

About V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River and most recently The Masque of Africa, and a collection of correspondence, Letters Between A Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Additional information

The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History by V. S. Naipaul
V. S. Naipaul
Used - Very Good
Pan Macmillan
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.