Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Bend in the River

Naipaul is, for me, a particularly good example of why it's not necessarily conducive to your reading enjoyment to know too much about an author. (My less literary example being Orson Scott Card: I loved Ender's Game in middle school. Now I wouldn't be able to read one of his books.) The thing is, I think Naipaul is a fairly brilliant writer--which isn't to say I could get through The Enigma of Arrival--but I have a difficult time separating his fiction from what I know about him. I don't really know how one does that. 

I mean, how do you read a book set in Africa and not let the knowledge that the author is a racist alter the way you read it? I shouldn't put it that way, really. I don't think that's desirable. But I also don't think that you want that knowledge to occlude your ability to appreciate all the genuinely good things about a book. And for me it does. 

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