However, Naipaul also gives us the story of the Khoja family. Once considered the elite of the Trinidad Hindu society, their influence is fading as other members of the community convert to Christianity and move with the times. The patriarch of the family, revered by his family, is clearly a throwback to old times and out of touch with what is happening around him. He runs for election on behalf of his own party, the People's Socialist Movement (he is a big fan of Rousseau), against the People's Democratic Movement, represented by Jagdev. It is not clear which is worst. Jagdev had to resign from a previous position for corruption and he campaigns in an American car, his arms around a beautiful girl and a bottle of rum in the other hand. Mr. Khoja, not to be outdone, also campaigns in an American car, with his wife in a beautiful sari, while he waves his copy of Rousseau at the crowds. Naturally, the electorate prefers the Jagdev approach.
Naipaul's portrait of Trinidad during a period of change in that country is full of wit and the story of the Khoja family, told with affection mixed with mockery, sees him at the height of his powers, a height he will not attain again in his short career. But it is the resilient, steadfast Baby Lutchman that helps makes this novel one to compare with the work of his brother.
Availability: Out of print