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Updated: November 21, 2010 21:09 IST

Naipaul says it's all over for him

Hasan Suroor
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File photo of V.S. Naipaul. Sir Vidia, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, has told a British newspaper that, at 78, he had become “very old” to continue writing.
The Hindu File photo of V.S. Naipaul. Sir Vidia, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, has told a British newspaper that, at 78, he had become “very old” to continue writing.

V.S. Naipaul, one of the great, and often controversial, writers of the 20th century has said that he has reached the end of his 50-year-long literary career and may be persuaded to write just one last book.

“I would write if Andrew [Wylie, his agent] did it well,” he was quoted as saying.

His last book, The Masque of Africa, published earlier this year, was heavily criticised for its portrayal of Africans, which one British critic described as “toxic” and “racist,” and prompted parallels with his controversial book on India, An Area of Darkness, which he wrote after his first visit to the land of his ancestors in the early 1960s.

Sir Vidia, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, told The Independent on Sunday that, at 78, he had become “very old” to continue writing.

“I would write one more book and then stop. That's enough...I'm very old,” he said.

Given his penchant for winding up critics, however, some were tempted to take his remarks with a pinch of salt recalling how he caused a stir in the literary world when he famously declared that the “novel is dead” before going on to write one himself.

Sir Vidia has attracted controversy for his remarks on Islam and his condescending comments about his contemporaries, once saying that he was so disappointed with current writing that he had gone back to reading Balzac.

He has also been critical of Indian writers in English and claims not to have read Salman Rushdie.

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