Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sir Vidia's Shadow by Paul Theroux

Sir Vidia's Shadow: A Friendship Across Five Continents, Paul Theroux. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 2000, 1999, 1998. e book 372 pps.

     I was delighted to come across Sir Vidia's Shadow in e-book format. My [traumatic brain injury] visual and perceptual difficulties dictate the use of an e-reader these days. I am a fan of the writings of Paul Theroux. This particular book included travel but the focus was different. I enjoyed it immensely.

     Sir Vidia S. Naipaul is an English writer with ties to India who has lived in a bunch of places. Paul Theroux first encountered him in Africa where they became friends. V.S. Naipaul [as he is usually identified by those of us who only know him through his writing] saw the young man in Africa as a writer first before anyone else was wont to do so. Their adventures in Uganda evolved into letter-writing and meet-ups elsewhere through the years of their long-term friendship.

sapphoq reviews says: Paul Theroux has written an interesting account of V.S. Naipaul which provided for me a rare glimpse into a man who was at once secretive and ornery. Equally exciting to me was Paul Theroux's obvious evolution as a writer through the years. I expected to like Sir Vidia's Shadow because I love Paul Theroux's ability to impart both a sense of place and of being Other throughout his published work. I suspect that I myself would not have been able to tolerate V.S. Naipaul's quirks had I been offered his friendship, but Paul Theroux was able to and grew as a result. Highly recommended, especially to those who are fans of the writings of either man, fans of travel literature, and perhaps fans of psychological sorts of "case studies."

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