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Monday, Oct 25, 2021
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Naipaul And His Three Women

'I knew Pat was dying and Margaret was finished.... It was not that I was trying to displace a dying woman and an old floozy': Nadira

Naipaul And His Three Women
Naipaul And His Three Women
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
As he approached the age of retirement, V.S. Naipaul felt compelled to go on writing. By early 1995, unable to find the spark for a work of fiction, Vidia decided to loop back on himself once more and write a reprise of Among the Believers, his prescient early study of Islamic extremism. In a new global political climate, he would return to Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan to look at the future of Islamist ideology through the fate of the places and personalities he had encountered in 1979. Once again, he would make a forceful rejection of the late 20th century academic convention that all cultures, peoples and belief systems are different but equal. On July 25, 1995, Vidia flew out of Heathrow airport to Jakarta. As on his previous trips, he asked other people to aid him, and in most cases they fell over themselves to do so. His Anglo-Argentine mistress of 23 years' standing, Margaret Gooding, jumped on an aeroplane and travelled loyally with him through Indonesia, being permitted to collect and file useful press cuttings. Publishers' staff in London and New York provided contacts and helpers. Ian Buruma recommended the journalist Ahmed Rashid in Pakistan, who produced a string of names and invited Vidia to stay at his house in Lahore. The editor of the New York Review of Books Bob Silvers found regional experts and their telephone numbers. The publisher Harry Evans sent a gigantic list of possibly interesting people. The journalist Rahul Singh located politicians in Jakarta. Once Vidia arrived in the relevant country, diplomats would arrange dinners and foreign correspondents would open their contacts books to him. When he left for Indonesia, he knew his wife Pat was seriously ill with a recurrence of breast cancer. A month earlier, in a chilling letter to his accountant, Vidia had written: "Pat's personal...
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