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Category Archive for 'Trinidad'

What began as a mentoring relationship between established novelist V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux, a young writer working on his first novel, went on to endure as a “friendship” for thirty years as both writers traveled the world but remained in touch. They met when Theroux was a young ex-Peace Corp worker teaching in Uganda at the university in Makerere in 1966, and Naipaul, nine years his senior, became “writer-in-residence” there, though Naipaul hated teaching and mocked the writing of his students and the Makerere faculty. He did, however, recognize Theroux’s talent, and he did help and encourage him to get his novel published. Theroux, in turn, was an astute reader of Naipaul’s work, and both benefited from the relationship, at least at first. A crusty, critical, and often cruel man, full of contradictions, Naipaul was a difficult “friend,” and when he decided that he did not like someone, there was no turning back, no forgiveness for human failings. Theroux managed to navigate that minefield of hostility for thirty years. Despite the pettiness and frequent mean-spiritedness of Naipaul, it is also a portrait of Theroux, who published this book as his own enduring form of payback.

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