This is the chronicle of Mohun Biswas. A Hindu born of an impoverished family on Trinidad, Mr. Biswas is a gentle, highly sensitive man, aware of his failings while longing desperately for independence and respect. His heritage is poverty, but his caste is Brahmin, and this sets him apart from others. As a child he often went hungry, but on the holy feast days, he was always taken to his Aunt's home, dressed ceremoniously, and treated -- and fed -- with reverence. It is his caste, too, that leads to his marriage into a wealthy, powerful family. Stifled in the teeming household ruled by his dowager mother-in-law, there is crystallized in him the need to be self-sufficient, and the house he dreams of incessantly becomes the symbol of the proof of his worth. His struggles, his successes and more frequent failures, his story -- and the stories of others relating to him -- are told simply and gently -- never, never overstated. Mr. Naipaul, highly acclaimed for his previous novels, has written another good book.