Naipaul chuckles at the gulf that divides all delusions, pretensions, expectations and vanities from reality. Naipaul is one of the great masters of black comedy. In fiction, he says that, in creating characters, he likes simply to walk around, not judge, them. But in doing so, he manages to expose all their flaws and the dark comedy of their lives. Like Conrad, his true predecessor (though he would never agree to that), he sees humanity as irre-deemably flawed, though worth close observation.
Naipaul is hypersensitive to these human flaws. He once said: “I was gifted at an early age – the minute I saw a person, I could see the flaw in that person. It was like a curse.” So, naturally, I ask him what flaw he saw in me. After trying to avoid the question, he says he no longer has the gift.
“You lost it, coincidentally, just before you met me?”
-- From "V.S. Naipaul: the great offender", an admiring profile by Bryan Appleyard in last Sunday's Times. (I didn't notice it until Shelf Space posted a link.) VSN in the Times and the Guardian in one weekend! The publicity machine for his new book is hitting high gear.
Dear readers: For our sixth anniversary in May 2010, The Caribbean Review of Books has launched a new website at www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Antilles has now moved to www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/antilles — please update your bookmarks and RSS feed. If you link to Antilles from your own blog or website, please update that too!
Wednesday, 29 August 2007