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Monday, April 14, 2008

More Hate for Naipaul

posted by on April 14 at 15:32 PM

Highlights from Paul Theroux’s review of a new biography of the Nobel laureate.

Now French’s biography amply demonstrates everything I said and more [in Sir Vidia’s Shadow]. It is not a pretty story; it will probably destroy Naipaul’s reputation for ever, this chronicle of his pretensions, his whoremongering, his treatment of a sad, sick wife [Pat] and disposable mistress [Margret], his evasions, his meanness, his cruelty amounting to sadism, his race baiting.

After years of using prostitutes, the turning point in Naipaul’s life comes in 1972 when he finds a woman he desires: Margaret, whom he has met in Buenos Aires. She apparently refused to be interviewed for the book, but her archived love letters supply the missing narrative. They are rapturous, despairing, pleading, speaking of “his cruel sexual desires”. She acknowledges that he is her black master, that he regards his penis as a god, that she will worship it, abase herself.

Eventually Naipaul told his wife Pat about the relationship, divulging some details and showing her intimate photographs. She was devastated but stayed with him and he was reluctant to offer a divorce. He gave her literary jobs to do, went on reading his rough drafts of his fiction to her – in which the sex scenes were based on the rough sex he enjoyed with Margaret
The end is eventful. Dissatisfied with Margaret, annoyed with Pat for having cancer (“He felt angry that [Pat] was dying and angry that she was not dying fast enough”), he meets a Pakistani divorcee in Lahore and very soon afterwards asks her, “Will you consider one day being Lady Naipaul?”

He dumps Margaret without explanation. Pat (so as not to be a nuisance) forgoes more chemotherapy and dies miserably. Six days later, before the worms can pierce Pat’s winding sheet, the Pakistani woman has moved into the house. There the story ends, a powerful lesson in karma as the sour and much-shrunken figure marries this peculiar stranger.

Naipaul, Naipaul. Paul, Paul. Pity, pity.

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No two people in this world have ever deserved each other more than Naipaul and Theroux. I hope that in Hell they will be confined together for eternity, in straitjackets and leg irons, just out of spitting range.

Posted by ivan | April 14, 2008 3:58 PM

What does any of that have to do with his books? Philip Larkin's reputation as a poet and critic didn't suffer after his biography was released. Humans are deeply flawed creatures. Writers maybe more than most of us. That's not news.

Posted by Fnarf | April 14, 2008 4:08 PM

those guys are neeeerds!

Posted by raymond | April 14, 2008 4:43 PM

Does anyone else think the reason "Margaret" didn't want to be interviewed is because she's imaginary? Seriously, would anyone really worship this Dork Master's penis? I doubt it. I doubt any woman looked at this guy and said 'hubba hubba'.

Posted by yucca flower | April 14, 2008 5:04 PM
Posted by tomasyalba | April 14, 2008 5:58 PM

I once found myself sitting one row in front of the current Lady Naipaul, Nadira, at a concert. She was very good looking, very amusing, very cutting. All in all an entirely formidable woman. I remember thinking, "she seems like she'd be fun to talk to at a party, but I certainly wouldn't want to be her enemy."

Posted by Eric from Boulder | April 14, 2008 7:13 PM

have you seen my nobel prize?

Posted by ams | April 14, 2008 7:58 PM

he sounds exactly like picasso. honestly, no worse. in fact, if naipaul has no children to dis, he comes off somewhat better.

Posted by ellarosa | April 14, 2008 10:25 PM

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