āA stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say āSlum!ā because he could see no more.ā But to its residents this derelict corner of Trinidadās capital is a complete world, where everybody is quite different from everybody else. Thereās Popo the carpenter, who neglects his livelihood to build āthe thing without a name.ā Thereās Man-man, who goes from running for public office to staging his own crucifixion, and the dreaded Big Foot, the bully with glass tear ducts. Thereās the lovely Mrs. Hereira, in thrall to her monstrous husband. In this tender, funny early novel, V. S. Naipaul renders their lives (and the legends their neighbors construct around them) with Dickensian verve and Chekhovian compassion.Set during World War II and narrated by an unnamedābut precociously observantāneighborhood boy, Miguel Street is a work of mercurial mood shifts, by turns sweetly melancholy and anarchically funny. It overflows with life on every page.