You don't read Naipaul -- you listen to him. As in his fiction, the words here speak of an undiscovered discontent abroad in the land, of a universal mood that change is not only coming but has already gone, that something is menacing the sanctum sanctorum. When he says, for instance, that "One by one India has had to shed ideas about herself and the world. . . magic endures only when it appears to work. And it has been proved that man, even in India, can no longer walk on water," you understand -- you are at the inductive flashpoint. And what does it matter that these twenty or so articles have appeared before? It's not so much that they were published in such respectable periodicals as the New Statesman, Encounter, TLS, the Listener, the New York Review of Books, and the Sunday Times Magazine. Or that they provide a fifteen-year perspective (1958-72). Or that they cover the world of places and subjects from America to the island of Mauritius, from Black Power to Norman Mailer. The attraction, rather, is simply that Naipaul is Naipaul.