The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.
At school I had only admirers; I had no friends.
As a child I knew almost nothing, nothing beyond what I had picked up in my grandmother's house. All children, I suppose, come into the world like that, not knowing who they are.
To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say 'my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn't matter.'
I know my father and my mother, but beyond that I cannot go. My ancestry is blurred.
Argentine political life is like the life of an ant community or an African forest tribe: full of events, full of crisis and deaths, but life is always cyclical, and the year ends as it begins.
Whatever extra there is in me at any given moment isn't fully formed. I am hardly aware of it; it awaits the next book. It will - with luck - come to me during the actual writing, and it will take me by surprise.
In Trinidad, where as new arrivals we were a disadvantaged community, that excluding idea was a kind of protection; it enabled us - for the time being, and only for the time being - to live in our own way and according to our own rules, to live in our own fading India.
The biography of a writer - or even the autobiography - will always have this incompleteness.
An autobiography can distort; facts can be realigned. But fiction never lies: it reveals the writer totally.
My life is short. I can't listen to banality.
Great writing can be done in biography, history, art.
My grief is that the publishing world, the book writing world is an extraordinary shoddy, dirty, dingy world.
If a man begins writing at thirty, by the time he is fifty or sixty, the bulk of his work has been done. By the time he is eighty, he's got nothing more, you know?
What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn't know fully.
In England I am not English, in India I am not Indian. I am chained to the 1,000 square miles that is Trinidad; but I will evade that fate yet.
Trinidad may seem complex, but to anyone who knows it, it is a simple, colonial, philistine society.
Each book, intuitively sensed and, in the case of fiction, intuitively worked out, stands on what has gone before, and grows out of it. I feel that at any stage of my literary career it could have been said that the last book contained all the others.
Judgment is contained in the act of trying to understand.
The first 50 years of the cinema were absolutely great years. Original minds were at work establishing the ways to tell a story. And what is happening now is a copying, a pastiche-ing of what was done by great men.