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The Mystic Masseur was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958, and Miguel Street the Somerset Maugham Award in 1961, W. It remained the land of my childhood, an area of darkness; like the Himalayan passes, it was closing up again, as fast as I withdrew from it, into a land of myth; it seemed to exist in just the timelessness which I had imagined as a child, into which, for all that I walked on Indian earth, I knew I could not penetrate. I had learned my separateness from India, and was content to be a colonial, without a past, without ancestors." He wrote, "The history of the islands can never be told satisfactorily. History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies.""Coconut trees and beach and the white of breakers seemed to meet at a point in the distance.

Somerset Maugham himself approving the first-ever selection of a non-European. It felt like a career; and there was a short period, towards the end of the writing, when I do believe I knew all or much of the book by heart. And I found that I was unwilling to re-enter the world I had created, unwilling to expose myself again to the emotions that lay below the comedy. I haven't read it since I passed the proofs in May 1961."The emergency was over. The short winter was fading fast; it was no longer pleasant to sit out in the sun; the dust would not now be laid until the monsoon. It was not possible to see where coconut turned to mangrove and swampland.

Upon graduation, Naipaul won a Trinidad Government scholarship that allowed him to study at any institution of higher learning in the British Commonwealth; he chose Oxford.

In 1952, before visiting Spain, Naipaul met Patricia Ann Hale, his future wife, at a college play.

With Hale's support, he began to recover and gradually to write. Her family was hostile to the relationship; his was unenthusiastic.

The story was inspired by a neighbour he knew as a child in Port of Spain. The New York Times said about Miguel Street: "The sketches are written lightly, so that tragedy is understated and comedy is overstated, yet the ring of truth always prevails." Diana Athill, an editor at the publishing company André Deutsch, read Miguel Street and liked it, but publisher, André Deutsch thought a book of short stories by an unknown Caribbean writer unlikely to sell profitably in Britain. In 1956, Naipaul returned to Trinidad for a two-month stay with his family.

Travelling by ship there, he sent humorous sketches of the ship's West Indian passengers to Pat.

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