The Grand Old Acerbic Man of Letters has, alas, turned into a Grand Old Recycler, turning out a volume of worn-out, self-plagiarised essays. With this collection of five essays, partly about India and Indians, Naipaul effectively proves his own point: it’s really time he stopped writing. What is astonishing about this book is that never before in his 50-year writing career has Naipaul written such "lazy, mean-minded and frequently offensive nonsense," as William Dalrymple said in his Outlook review.
The Solitude of Emperors By David Davidar (Penguin/Viking)
Earnest and long, publisher Davidar’s second book proves that politically correct subjects need not make great novels—even if, as his publisher claims, it sold 13,500 copies. Self-consciously literary, Davidar’s novel about the Babri mosque demolition and its aftermath rarely goes below the surface, leaving the reader cold.