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The Enigma of Arrival represents a significant shift in V. S. Naipaul’s corpus. In earlier work Naipaul used realist techniques to depict the periphery as the product of a historical derangement. In Enigma, Naipaul focuses on himself as a narrating subject who is the product of a disturbance that he cannot overthrow, only channel. The originality of The Enigma of Arrival lies in its attempt to engage, at the level of form, the disorienting effects of the periphery’s induction into modernity.