V. S. Naipaul : Magic Seeds
"It is wrong to have an ideal view of the world. That's where the mischief starts. That's where everything starts unravelling. But I can't write to Sarojini about that"
With this sad-but-wise conclusion, Willie brings an end to "Magic Seeds", the sequel to "Half a Life".
And I disagree - at least with regards to Willie's life. It could not begin to unravel because it was never raveled together in the first place. As Naipaul has told his story, he was a lost soul the moment he was conceived by a Brahmin father and a Dalit mother. He has never cared about anything but himself - and even regarding himself - he only cares about sexual urges. He is a cockroach - albeit a very intelligent and introspective one.
This novel begins in Berlin where Willie had fled Mozambique to finally begin living his own life. I had predicted that he would just continue his sexual adventures, but I was wrong. Instead, his sister sends him to join the Maoist insurgents in India. Given his absent personality, he has a natural ability to hide in plain sight - but that is his only martial ability. Eventually he manages to half-heartedly kill some hapless peasant -- and then as the local insurgency collapses, he finds himself in jail.
I'm not sure that we can rely Naipaul to know anything about Indian prisons (or Maoist insurgents) -- but if his depiction is accurate, those prisons exemplify a wrong-headed compassion where captured rebels are encouraged to organize their own ideological activities.