A House for Mr. Biswas Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A House for Mr. Biswas

Mr. Mohun Biswas, a journalist working with a newspaper in the Port of Spain, is sacked just before his death. The novel begins with this description and then goes on to unravel the life of Mr. Mohun Biswas bit by bit. Mr. Biswas feels very much alienated with the society in which he is living. He has no feeling of being a part of that society. His father was a farmer in the sugarcane fields of Trinidad and Tobago, who had come from India as a contracted labourer. Mr. Biswas is totally against the traditions of his family. He neither identifies with India nor with the people of Port of Spain. This lack of identity makes him miserably rebellious....he struggles whole of his life for an identity....
Click here to see the rest of this review

The review of this Book prepared by DHAWAL KUMAR

"A House for Mr. Biswas" portrays through a series of homes he had and fairly brief life of a poor journalist turned civil servant in Port of Sapin, Trinidad, in the years before and after World War II.
   Born into an Indian family whose father worked in the sugar cane estates, Mr.
Biswas, as he is called by the author from infancy on, becomes a sigh painter, and at the age of sixteen, is tricked into marrying Shama, the daughter of the large and poweerful Tulsi family.
    From one room in the Tulsi House, he moves into a home he is building
in"the chase", an area near he fields where he becomes an overseer. But Mr. Biswas does not have enough money to complete the house.
    He loses his mind temporarily, and moves back with the Tulsis. Shama is now expecting their fourth child.
    When his madness abates,Mr. Biswas decides to move into the city of port of Spain, and gets a job with a newspaper,"The Sentinal". as a sign painter again. From this position, he is promoted to a journalist.

   Because of a series of stories he writes about the "Deserving Destitute", he secures a position in the civil service as a Community Outreach person, complete with a company car.

    His mother=in-law persuades him to move with the family into a palatial estate she buys in Shorhills, an hour from the city.

   From one room here, he moves back into Port of Spain where he buys a two=storey home that is falling to pieces.

    Mr. Biswas's life, always begun, in his abortive attempts to write,"At the age of thirty-three, when he was already the father of four children, never allowed him to complet a short story, or live in a well build house. But the insouciant attitude with which he endures his adventures allows him to transcend the indignaties he suffers.
The review of this Book prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson

Chapter Analysis of A House for Mr. Biswas

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   upbeat    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Life of a profession:    -   clerk    -   writer Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Indian from India Other aspects:    -   story of the poor    -   immigrant story Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Strong "rags to riches" component?    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   In-laws Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   midlife crisis    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Brain/Body disability?    -   mental illness Pearls of wisdom from homeless?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   journalist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Indian Indian Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   Black Africa The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   The Caribbean Island?    -   Yes Island:    -   food/shelter preoccupation    -   Caribbean Islands City?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like A House for Mr. Biswas

V.S. Naipaul Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian