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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

"Her knowledge of his weaker moments"

The supreme need of the arriviste is to be able to disown and forget those who have helped him so far. But this isn’t always so easy. If Pat Hale had really turned into a frump or a shrew or a bore, or taken to attacking the cooking sherry when company called, Naipaul’s treatment of her might perhaps be more understandable. But French leaves me in no doubt that Naipaul hated her because he had depended upon her, and because she had sacrificed everything to help him both as a person and as a writer, and to be consecrated to his work and his success. He used her as an unpaid editor and amanuensis, and then spurned her because he resented her knowledge of his weaker moments.

In the November issue of The Atlantic (already available online), Christopher Hitchens writes a vigorous and rigorous review of The World Is What It Is, Patrick French's V.S. Naipaul biography. (The US edition will be published in a few weeks--expect a flood of reviews in North American newspapers and magazines. And look out also for a review in the November CRB.)

1 comment:

FSJL said...

I'm waiting for the great South American River to deliver my copy when it's released. I expect it will be well-worth the wait.