Archive - October 26, 2010

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Norm Rush Reviews V.S. Naipaul's Latest
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How To Write A Novel

Norm Rush Reviews V.S. Naipaul's Latest

Here’s a match up. Norman Rush (Botswana CD 1978-83) reviewed V.S. Naipaul’s new book: The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief that Knopf  just published. The book covers Naipaul’s 2008-2009 trip to Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Gabon, and South Africa. Rush’s review is in The New York Review of Books (November 11, 2010) issue and opens with this line: It’s hard to be fair to V.S. Naipaul. You know the review is only going to get better. Norm goes onto write, “Hanging over the varying approaches to Naipaul’s work is the bad air released by Patrick French’s biography.” That book, The World Is What It is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul came out in 2008.) Rush, and his absolutely charming and beautiful wife, Elsa, were co-directors in Botswana where, from all accounts, Norm handled the paperwork and Elsa handled the PCVs. From all accounts they were great directors and why . . .

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How To Write A Novel

Fifty years ago, when I was going through Training for Peace Corps/Ethiopia at Georgetown University, I heard Katherine Anne Porter was speaking at a creative writing program, also taking place on campus, so I cut my classes and went to hear one of the most famous writers of the South. Katherine Anne was not part of the Agrarian movement, (men like John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, etc.) but she was a great short story writer and had that year (1962) published her only novel, Ship of Fools. Talking about her novel, she made two points that I still remember, fifty years after sneaking into the lecture hall. One point was that she had written the last chapter of her novel first, and that was 20 years before she finished writing and publishing the book. She said that she had to write the last chapter first as she needed to know how the novel ended before . . .

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