Without His Mistress Margaret, There Would’ve Been No Great Naipaul Novels After 1970

Was Naipaul’s great writing worth the sin of his passionate illicit relationship with Margaret of Argentina?

Perhaps what I need to spark my writing is a good affair. Such a shame I am so moral, so corralled by the Holy Torah.

Naipaul says about meeting Margaret when he was 40: "I was passionately looking for sensual fulfillment, but passionately, and when it came it was wonderful, and I will never run it down. All the later books in a way to some extent depend on her. They stopped being dry… The books stopped being dry after Margaret, and it was a great liberation… Nothing was missing. The world was complete for me."

I’m reading the latest triumph by Patrick French: "The World is What it is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul"

The vice of the English working class is fornication, of the middle class it is adultery and of the upper class, it is incest.

As for my life, it is but grim duty. I buy the meanest kisses at famine prices. (Thomas Hardy)

Naipaul said about his affair that it killed his wife: "I was liberated. She was destroyed. It was inevitable."

"Margaret was Vidia’s ideal woman, a woman of a kind who had existed previously only in his fantasy life: he could string her along and mistreat her, with her abject consent."

An Italian friend, Marisa Masters, told Vidia not to leave his wife. To have an affair instead. "I tell him I understand a writer needs to get a bit of knowledge."

"Margaret gave him sensual fulfillment, Pat the cerebral equivalent. Like Graham Greene and Catherine Watson, they would meet in unlikely locations around the world for sex and excitement while the travelling writer went about his business."

"She said he should not think she would be willing to hop over to England every few months to satisfy his carnal desires, although she rued the fact that only he seemed to be capable of satisfying hers."

"No other man could give her the sensations he gave her. She said she had done things to Vido that would have made her sick with anybody else, and yet she still longed for the time when she could do them again."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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