Sir Vidia’s Shadow: Ancillary – Reviews, Notes

I’ve been reading a few of the reviews of Sir Vidia’s Shadow – it really did cause quite a stir when published. I get the feeling from most of them, that the second half of the book moves from entertaining account to splenetic rant. I’m itching to get on with it but the Christmas work party season is preventing me until tomorrow. Continue reading “Sir Vidia’s Shadow: Ancillary – Reviews, Notes”

'Sir Vidia’s Shadow', by Paul Theroux. Reading Notes: Part 1.

Summary: I’m halfway through this book having reached the end of the second of four parts, and so far this is a compelling study of an incredible character, that raises unsettling questions. Theroux’s honesty about himself makes the personal memoir aspect engaging, but it is the well observed portrait of V.S. Naipaul as a powerful, driven and flawed character that is the dark fascinating heart of the book. The animating question for me at this point is how much of the whole is necessary: how separable are Naipaul’s virtues and vices. The earliest part of the book shows the allure, and perhaps the need, for people who hold themself and the world to a higher standard. By the mid-point however this admirable and absolute commitment to the truth and to exposing reality no matter how uncomfortable, is shading definitively into contempt and cruelty towards (most of) the rest of humanity.   A second question, how far is the (post-colonial) insecurity underlying Naipaul’s character responsible for the strengths and excesses. Continue reading “'Sir Vidia’s Shadow', by Paul Theroux. Reading Notes: Part 1.”