Friday, March 28, 2003

And, speaking of Sir Vidia: Outlook India recently ran an interview with Patrick French, Naipaul's authorised biographer, which contains a few tasty tidbits of Naipauliana, such as:

Is it true that Naipaul told you, "Don't let the New Yorker worry you. The New Yorker knows nothing about writing. Nothing."

(Laughs) Actually, nobody knows the punch line was after that: "Writing an article there is like posting a letter in a Venezuelan postbox. Nobody's going to read it!" He meant it was a publication for which there's more reverence than readership.


But the part of the interview that most interested me was French's explanation for why he was chosen to write what will surely turn out to be the juiciest literary biography of the decade:

Naipaul read my work, saw I had a seriousness about my writing. I had some experience and knowledge of both India and Britain, which for him is crucial. How on earth can you write a biography of Naipaul if you don’t understand something about both societies?

Of course, experience & knowledge of the West Indies was not thought terribly relevant, the first two decades of VSN's life being of no consequence whatever....

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