Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Monday, September 13, 2004  

When there's a pause I ask him if he can ever imagine a time when he can no longer write?

'I think it will happen and I think it will be extremely painful. Without writing, everything will become insipid. Reading would have no point, because a writer reads with a purpose.'

Nadira laughs. 'I can tell Tim what you said to me: when I've finished writing, I will do reviews.'

'No,' says Naipaul quickly, 'I would not do that. I have changed my mind.'

'You said you were going to destroy a lot of big reputations!' Nadira says.

'Now,' he says, 'I think it is not worth it.'

'That's what I said,' says Nadira. 'I said: you do that, Vidia, and no one will come to your memorial service.'

Naipaul considers this. 'There are very few writers over 72, you know,' he says, 'who have written well.'

I am about to suggest Saul Bellow, when he reminds me who he considers his peers to be.

'Tolstoy perhaps,' he says. Then, bleakly: 'It was at 72 that Ibsen had his stroke.'

posted by Jonathan | 9:04 AM 0 comments


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