Wednesday, August 10, 2005
A chance to explore the world
VS Naipaul says:
What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn't know fully. I thought if I didn't have this resource of nonfiction I would have dried up perhaps. I'd have come to the end of my material, and would have done what a writer like Graham Greene did. You know, he took the Graham Greene figure to the Congo, took him to Argentina, took him to Haiti, for no rhyme or reason.This is from "The Irascible Prophet: V. S. Naipaul at Home", a feature by Rachel Donadio in the New York Times. It's a good read, and contains some provocative views on terrorism, Islam, Joseph Conrad ("Actually, I think 'A Bend in the River' is much, much better than Conrad"), and India ("there are no thinkers in India").
If you write a novel alone you sit and you weave a little narrative. And it's O.K., but it's of no account. If you're a romantic writer, you write novels about men and women falling in love, etc., give a little narrative here and there. But again, it's of no account.