Regular price: £37.29

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Basket

Summary

A House for Mr. Biswas, by Nobel and Booker Prize-winning author V. S. Naipaul, is a powerful novel about one man's struggle for identity and belonging. Born into poverty, then trapped in the shackles of charity and gratitude, Mr. Biswas longs for a house he can call his own. He loathes his wife and her wealthy family, upon whom he is dependent. Finding himself a mere accessory on their estate, his constant rebellion is motivated by the one thing that can symbolize his independence. The book is striking in its lush and sensual descriptions of Trinidad and was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

©1969 V.S. Naipaul (P)2017 Naxos AudioBooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Eventually it ends

A life grinds then ends, unrelenting, it rambles until the author appears to get as bored as the rest of us and ends with a degree of abruptness. I stayed to the bitter end is the best I can say about the content. the narrator did his best with the material provided.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a vivid portrayal of Indian life in Trinidad

the narrator's accent was perfect in bringing the story to life.
will read more titles

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Greenfly
  • Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
  • 28-09-18

Loved this book!

Wow it was so descriptive I was in the room with Mr Biswas, I felt his pain!
I didn't want to finish the book it was that good!
Great narration as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant and heartbreaking

Hard edged writing recreates a hard life in a lost world that is as beautiful as it is harsh, tragic and timeless.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

you get involved and ends abruptly

you start to get really involved in his life, his disappointments, the early years stretch on, then the ending comes abruptly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • KC
  • London
  • 11-09-18

Uncomfortable realism

This book seemed to last forever. Perhaps it was the convincing realism that made me feel as trapped as the central character, Mr Biswas. Perhaps it was the skilful portrayal of the sheer relentless immovability of the Indian family and class system that made this reading experience feel so turgid and stuck. I cannot deny the craft and quality of the writing that transported me to a world I would otherwise not know but still, I was relieved to finish and escape.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A gem of a story

An engrossing tale, told with humour and humanity, and another perfect reading by Sam Dastor.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Saman
  • 11-12-17

Charming prose. Lovely book.

Naipaul never dissapoints in his narrative. This is a very simple story of a man who lives a fairly, short life on the fringes of poverty and amidst a patriarchal household. Many readers can be put-off by the pure absurdness of this story-line but for me as a Naipaul advocate, this is pure magic.

The protagonist, Mohun Biswas, is a dreadful character who continuously bites the hand that feeds him and wishes for grander things in life. His wishes to escape the chains of the Tulsi clan and buy a house of his own are the center pieces of the story. The novel spans the years of his life: his unhappy and tragic childhood, marriage to Sharma and the expectations of the Tulsis, children, and the continuous machinations of the sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws. Getting beaten and giving a beating is expected in the Tulsi house.

I wanted so badly for Mr. Biswas to succeed and yet, at some junctures, I wanted him to fail. That is the beauty of the story and the book. Remember the first chapter and then you will understand the rest of Mr. Biswas’s life and trials. Loved this book and the narration was pretty good too.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Liz W.
  • 11-12-17

Thoughtful story, WONDERFULLY narrated

This is a long, funny, sad, sometimes frustrating story about a man who dreams of something better. It's not an easy listen, but well worth the time invested in the end. As always, Sam Dastor brings the story to life with his narration. I could honestly listen to this guy read the phone book. He interprets the author's words beautifully.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tona
  • 25-01-18

Humble yet powerful...

This thoughtfully written story of of man's journey to find his place is a reflection of every man struggle. Beautifully constructed, eloquent and playful, it speaks to anyone, regardless of station, nationality, or era, trying to find their place in this world.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • barbara
  • 11-10-18

One of the best audiobooks ever

This was my first Naipaul book, one which had come recommended, and I was not disappointed. The immersion into the world of Mr. Biswas (who was, I read, a facsimile of Naipaul's father) amounted to 21 hours of bliss for this reader. The details of his life were delivered with wry humor, wit, and a nuanced pathos that left me with compassion, amusement, awe at Naipaul's mastery, and a strong desire to travel to Trinidad. The descriptions of the landscape were rendered with such perfection, I could taste and smell the vegetation and salt spray. The characters were plentiful, full of life, and both vexing and pleasing in their insistence on being real. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I felt that the narrator was superb, and rendered the accents perfectly, and further, that he enhanced the experience of this book, by adding subtle expressive substance to the wonderful dialogue.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Frantic Gonzalez
  • 12-09-18

The changes a man goes through

This book took me to an island I didn't even know existed with a cultural background I was not expecting but had the pleasure to discover. Finding one's place on this earth after marrying, having children, and in a third world country is extremely difficult when one must choose between responsibilities and desires. Plus, the fear of being alone or wrong is shown in full light in this novel with constant hilarious complaints. I loved it

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brian Hays
  • 04-03-18

Classic Naipaul

Another from one of the great storytellers. The sequence of events is a bit depressing, but it’s impossible to become fully involved with the characters and events.

The narrator is one of the best I’ve heard. The dialect is perfectly executed, and the timing of the dialog is good for many laughs.

Although I’ve only read it in paper, Naipaul’s “A Bend in the River” is a must read.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bonbon
  • 19-09-18

A modern day classic

One of the top 10 books I’ve ever read. Naipaul’s depth of understanding of human nature, his detailed descriptions, and believable dialogue..makes his characters real and the story alive. Well worth reading. One of the best written books I’ve ever read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly
  • 02-11-18

Mr Biswas is Selfish; VSNaipaul writes beautifully

V S Naipaul took me on a journey through one man's life from start to finish and it was at times a ponderous slog. I didn't like Mr Biswas at all. He was cruel to his wife and children; he was selfish. The place of women and children in this book were hard to take for this modern day, American feminist woman. For the most part the women had no role at all... they were puppets. They were stomped upon and disparaged and had no expressed desire to see things change. Mr. Biswas seemed to stumble through life -- married without making a real choice to do so, becoming a father but seeming incapable of either understanding how that happened or why it mattered. He even bettered his standing with a job that he mostly fell into.

There was only one real intent that I could see: to obtain his own house, making the title of this book the most appropriate title of any book, ever. In the Prologue we learn that Mr Biswas marked his own importance entirely by his ability to own his own home and that although he achieved it he also lost it and that when he died, it was "...to have lived and died as one had been born, unnecessary and unaccommodated." And later in the book when Mr Biswas marries wihout receiving a dowry it is said that: This house is like a Republic already." (Part 1. Chapter 3. The Tulsis)

And that is why I couldn't enjoy the book... he only sees his family as a trap. He hates his wife for getting pregnant each and every time but takes no responsibility for how it occurred. The house was everything. The family was nothing but a burden.

However, the writing is beautiful and I learned a great deal about Trinidad and Tobago as the book made me seek outside information.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • 18-10-18

A Masterpiece!

Everyone should read this masterpiece by VS Naipal who is now departed from us leaving behind an abundance of work that portrays the life of poor Indian sugar cane workers in Trinidad and their struggle to find shelter, family and remain a part of their rich culture in a difficult land.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-09-18

Exceptional story telling!

Good narration. Makes me yearn for a house now. Picked this up because it was in Obama's reading list. My first Naipaul book. Definitely not the last.