V.S. Naipaul, Racist Mistress-beater

I’m not sure which of these characters (Theroux or Naipaul) is the more odious, but here, for your amusement, is Theroux’s attack on Sir Vidia in The Times of London:

Screenhunter_02_apr_10_1413After years of using prostitutes, the turning point in Naipaul’s life comes in 1972 when he finds a woman he desires: Margaret, whom he has met in Buenos Aires. She apparently refused to be interviewed for the book, but her archived love letters supply the missing narrative. They are rapturous, despairing, pleading, speaking of “his cruel sexual desires”. She acknowledges that he is her black master, that he regards his penis as a god, that she will worship it, abase herself.

This word “master”, used often in the letters, is interesting. It is a slave word. In role playing – and most of these love letters refer to highly eroticised power games – the master is regarded as dominant; but, paradoxically, it is usually the submissive person, the masochist, who has the ultimate power – maddening for the sadist.

Here is one instance. Margaret shows up unexpectedly in Wiltshire. Naipaul is displeased with her. He beats her and afterwards explains, “I was very violent with her for two days with my hand; my hand began to hurt . . . She didn’t mind at all. She thought of it in terms of my passion for her. Her face was bad. She couldn’t appear really in public. My hand was swollen.”

More here.