The Shattering Double Vision of V. S. Naipaul


One of the great writers I truly admired. R.I.P.

Nominally, Naipaul is writing about Anand Biswas. Actually, he is writing about himself—Vidia in Oxford (“in a library grown suddenly dark”), and then in London (“in securer times of different stresses”). He is writing about the young man in South London, for whom memories of Trinidad are both painful and joyful, and about how the writing of his epic is at once the baring and the healing of a wound (“when the memories had lost the power to hurt”). How coolly and classically Naipaul refers to his own great achievement: “they would fall into place and give back the rest.” Now he is gone, but his book continues to give back the rest to us, again and again.

The complete article

James Wood – The New Yorker

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The art of the obituary


My favorite section in The Economist is the Obituary. In one page, they write the essence of a life lived. Today’s needull explains this art. And as an example, an obituary of Muhammad Ali.

The 1,500 words that followed, accompanied by a photograph of the dishevelled peer embracing a scantily clad Australian showgirl, were a memorable example of a journalistic genre which has developed in recent years into something of a cult: the obituary as entertainment. In earlier times, British newspapers’ obituary pages were as solemn as the classified death notices that accompanied them. But since the mid-1980s they have become a source of daily fascination and delight. There is space these days not merely for Nobel-prize winners and establishment time-servers. Here also, in an almost random international cavalcade, its composition determined by the combined whims of the Grim Reaper and the editor responsible, are circus performers, jazz musicians, squires, poets, eccentrics and rogues, from Marshal Akhromeyev of the Red Army to Frank Zappa, late of the unconventional musical group, the Mothers of Invention.

The art of the obituary

Obituary: Muhammad Ali

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