Stuff covers the story of Keri Hulme giving V S Naipaul the pimp hand:
Hulme, the only New Zealander to win the Booker Prize, with The Bone People in 1985, lashed out at Naipaul after he said he did not regard any female authors as his equal, even famed novelist Jane Austen, because they are “sentimental”.
Hulme, who lives in seclusion in New Zealand’s South Island, took exception to the comments and wrote on the website Beattie’s Blog: “VS Naipaul is a misogynist prick whose works are dying.
“He accurately foresaw their relevance three decades ago: ‘They will not survive me.’
“As he ages, his nasty behaviour – and judgments – become ever more wince-making. Many thousand women writers both outrank and will out-survive this slug.”
Firstly, I’m surprised that none of the coverage of Naipaul’s comments have dealt with the fact that he has Issues With Women:
Naipaul and Margaret began an affair that set free all of his desires and fantasies. When his editor and friend Diana Athill scolded him, he replied, “I am having carnal pleasure for the first time in my life, are you saying I must give it up?” Carnal pleasure meant violence — in fact it was inextricable from beating Margaret up, degrading her in bed, turning the great man’s penis into an object of worship. How do we know these things? Because Naipaul tells them to his authorized biographer. “I was very violent with her for two days with my hand; my hand began to hurt. . . . She didn’t mind it at all. She thought of it in terms of my passion for her. Her face was bad. She couldn’t appear really in public. My hand was swollen. I was utterly helpless. I have enormous sympathy for people who do strange things out of passion.”
Contra Keri, I do think Naipaul’s writing will live on after him. Not his novels, which are already historic curios of a time when cultural elites treasured literary style above more proletarian qualities like plot or character or wit, but his travel books are classics of the genre. They’ve got staying power, mostly because of his prose style, which is amazing. Even better than that of Naipaul’s enemy Jane Austen – but Austen had the ability to write wit, story, characters ect, which is why most educated people in the English speaking world can idenfity the first paragraph of Pride and Prejudice two hundred years after she died while I doubt one person in a thousand could identify Naipaul as the author of A Bend in the River.