Theroux on Naipaul

“He was a solitary man. He knew everyone, but he had no close friends. His loneliness had made him intensely observant, as though this studious scrutiny were a remedy for being lonely. He knew the most obscure details of the paintings in the museums. He would lunge at the pictures, pointing out brush strokes. “It’s a tiny smear. Now step back. It’s a person – is it a child? Back farther. It’s a man. Look at the hat!”I could only think how many afternoons he had spent looking at these pictures on his own and discovering these secrets. I liked him, I was grateful for his friendship, and I admired his writing; but his isolation frightened me. I wanted my life to be different.”
Andy Parent on S. Prasad known as Raj, in Paul Theroux’s “My Secret History”

(For the full story, see “Sir Vidia” by Theroux)

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