Insightful, but a little too disjointed and self-indulgent, not to mention grumpy. Naipaul’s famous scorn for other writers’ work is on full display here, to the extent that one performs a double take upon seeing a stray word of praise [he heartily approves of Madame Bovary though, thankfully, but takes down Flaubert’s historical novel Salambbo]. His uncharitable views on Anthony Powell, a renowned novelist and Naipaul’s mentor and friend in England, for instance, are really quite vicious. In addition, if you’ve already read Naipaul’s India trilogy, especially ‘An Area of Darkness’ and ‘India: A Wounded Civilization’, the chapters about India and Gandhi will seem severely repetitive. The editor shouldn’t have let such sloppiness pass. Overall, this one seems like a filler book Naipaul wrote to pass his time, reminiscing about days past, playing his inevitable role as the lion in winter.