Saturday, January 10, 2004

In many ways it is as if Naipaul cannot get over having left Trinidad in the first place, or having managed to stay afloat through all the years of struggle in London while he was establishing himself as a writer. The hard-won success that followed is not nearly as mysterious to him: it was worked for; it was earned. And this is clearly a matter of fierce pride. In book after book, Naipaul is described as having "followed no other profession" than that of writer (at least one unhappy stint in the academy notwithstanding). The essays in this volume go a long way toward explaining this pride and this refusal.

-- From Lynn Freed's review of V.S. Naipaul's Literary Occasions (winner of the 2003 Nicholas Laughlin Book Award for general non-fiction!) in tomorrow's NY Times Book Review (like most NY Times online content, you'll have to pay to read this after about a week).

Meanwhile, the Indian press is wondering why Sir Vidia hasn't shown up for the 2004 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, currently underway in New Delhi:

The acerbic Nobel laureate, who with his wife, had quite stolen the thunder at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2003, was listed as a confirmed delegate at PBD 2004, and in fact, was to have been a panelist at the very first plenary. His name figured prominently in the programme circulated on Friday morning. But Naipaul just wasn’t there.

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