Facts are facts: Naipaul's prose is extraordinarily exquisite. I caught myself thinking a few times while reading this that reading this is better than being high.That is some amazing power of prose right there.Before I picked this up (on the merit of it being a big influence on Kiran Desai's Inheritance of Loss) I knew next to nothing about Naipaul aside that he was considered a great writer. Now, he is on my must read list & went out and got my second book from him today.But this novel is a set of three stories of three different immigrant experiences. And each is hard to read in their own ways. The first involves a domestic from India traveling to Washington DC and his hesitancy with freedom. It was by far my favorite of the three. His sense of displacement thundered off the page and at times it was hard to breathe as you read his words of self imposed isolation and servitude that he wore like the condemned would wear a noose. His emotions are palpable and echo off the page. This was a great damn story and some of the best writing that I have ever read.The second story was lackluster in comparison to the first. But it was in no way bad. It was actually hard to read, with some words seeming more than a bit out of place, but with an unreliable narrator who has had the only the most rudimentary of educations, this is totally appropriate.The third and major story was all sorts of horrifying. It deals with two British Expats in a nameless state in Africa. And neither are what you would call of redeeming characters. They both think of themselves as caring people that are worlds better than their colonizing forefathers. On the course of their two day car ride back to their gated colony they prove just how awful they are. How they view the natives as savages or worse. They even seem to take joy in berating them, subjecting them to the most awful tasks. They never look upon the natives as equals, yet time after time reject any responsibility for the way things are.This sounds awful. And it is. But Naipaul writes it so well that you are compelled to read it, cringing at the horror of their lives. This is nasty fiction at its best. And should be required reading for anyone who is thinking about visiting, let alone living in a foreign land. Just to help ensure that this disturbing behavior molts from our collective consciousnesses. Having been living in foreign lands now for the last year, I am afraid the lessons within are not taking.This is confronting fiction. This is great fiction. This is why we read.