Reproductive System

The book's name and cover caught my eye simultaneously. V.S. Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival was illustrated with a similarly titled painting by Giorgio de Chirico, the Greek-Italian pre-Surrealist. I pored over the book, which describes the Trinidadian Nobel laureate's own coming to terms with living in southern England, a few miles from where I had grown up. Enthused and enthralled, I decided I wanted the painting, too.

The original, in private hands in New York, was out of my physical and financial reach. Then Tamara, my wife (who speaks fluent Cantonese), suggested Da Fen, the reproduction-art village...

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