Born in Trinidad of Indian descent, a resident of England for his entire adult life, and a prodigious traveler, V. S. Naipaul has always faced the challenges of "fitting one civilization to another." Here, he takes us into his sometimes inadvertent process of creative and intellectual assimilation, which has shaped both his writing and his life. In a probing narrative that is part meditation and part remembrance, Naipaul discusses the writers to whom he was exposed early on and his first encounters with literary culture. He looks at what we have retained and what we have forgotten of the classical world, and he illuminates the ways in which Indian writers such as Gandhi and Nehru both reveal and conceal themselves and their nation. Full of humor and privileged insight, this is an eloquent, intimate exploration into the configuration of a writer's mind.