"How terrible it would have been, at this time, to be without it... to have lived without even attempting to lay claim to one’s portion of the earth; to have lived and died as one had been born, unnecessary and unaccommodated."

Treated with contempt by his wife, whose loyalty continues to remain with the Tulsi clan to which she belongs, Mr Biswas is a homeless and loveless man who shuttles from one residence to another, yearning for a place he can call his own. He rashly purchases a ramshackle house that he can ill afford, but it is his own and represents a declaration of his independence.

In his own words, Naipaul – a Trinidadian writer of Indian origin – claimed that of all his books, A House for Mr Biswas is the one closest to him. It is the most personal; based on the life of his own father, and created out of what he saw and felt as a child. It also contains some of his funniest writing. This dark comedy of manners was included by Time magazine in its 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

Published in 1961.