Penn State

Amitava Kumar - Professor of English, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Finding the Center

Author: V.S. Naipaul

Book Description:

V.S. Naipaul's Finding the Center was one of the first literary autobiographies that I read. Its very first sentence established in my mind the idea of writing as an opening in time or a beginning: that sentence conveyed to me, with its movement and rhythm, a history of repeated striving, and of things coming together, at last, in the achievement of the printed word:"It is now nearly thirty years since, in a BBC room in London, on an old BBC typewriter, and on smooth, 'non-rustle' BBC script paper, I wrote the first sentence of my first publishable book." This first sentence--about a first sentence--created an echo in my head. It has lasted through the twenty years of my writing life. The ambition and the anxiety of the beginner is there at the beginning of each book. Every time I start to write, I am reminded of Naipaul's book.

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