This is a thin book by VS Naipaul that is slightly difficult to read as it contains a lot of self-contemplation by Mr Stone on how he’s reacting to the presence of other characters. Rather than showing us, the author tells us, often in turgid details so it’s like wading through a small bog, you can get through it but it’s an effort. This seems to be a feature of certain writers such as Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, and now VS Naipaul.
At the age of 62, Mr Stone is a confirmed bachelor and enjoying life. Then he meets a recent widow and decides he wants to wed her. They call each other ‘Doggie’ as a term of affection, a way of accessing each other’s loving feelings if they’ve had a falling out. This marriage seems to change Mr Stone and he conceives an idea ‘the Knights Companion’ for his company and puts the plan into action with the help of a man called Whymper who ends up trying to take the credit and getting the daughter of Mr Stone’s sister in the family way.
I’m glad I read the book, but I’m not sure I’ll read any other books by VS Naipaul, even though he did win the 2001 Nobel Prize for Literature.