The Great Railway Bazaar
The Old Patagonian Express
The Kingdom By The Sea
Sailing Through China
Sunrise With Seamonsters
The Imperial Way
Riding The Iron Rooster
To The Ends Of The Earth
The Happy Isles Of Oceania
The Pillars Of Hercules
Sir Vidia's Shadow
Fresh Air Fiend
Best American Travel Writing
Dark Star Safari
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
The Tao of Travel
The Last Train to Zona Verde
Best American Travel Writing 2014
Deep South
Figures in a Landscape


Fong And The Indians
Murder In Mount Holly
Girls At Play
Jungle Lovers
Sinning With Annie
Saint Jack
The Black House
The Family Arsenal
The Consul's File
Picture Palace
A Christmas Card
London Snow
World's End
The Mosquito Coast
The London Embassy
Half Moon Street
The White Mans Burden
My Secret History
Chicago Loop
Millroy The Magician
My Other Life
Kowloon Tong
The Collected Short Novels
Hotel Honolulu
Nurse Wolf And Dr. Sacks
Stranger At The Palazzo D'Oro
Two Stars
Blinding Light
The Elephanta Suite
A Dead Hand
The Lower River
Mr. Bones
Mother Land



Sir Vidia's Shadow

Book Description
This is an intimate portrait of friendship, it's beginning, middle, and end. And it describes the rarest and most fragile of alliances, a literary friendship. One year before he published his first book, Paul Theroux met V. S. Naipaul -- Vidia, as he was known. For thirty years both men remained in close touch, even when continents separated them. Sir Vidia's Shadow is a double portrait of the writing life, but it is much more, for travel and reading and emotional ups and downs are also aspects of this friendship, which is powerful and enriching and often a comedy -- and, ultimately, a bridge that is burned.

The two writer's paths crossed in 1966 in Uganda, which Naipaul saw as a dangerous jungle and Theroux regarded as a benign home. Theroux became Naipaul's driver, interpreter, and apprentice -- he was twenty-three and Naipaul thirty-four. Theroux was guided by the older writer, but as the years passed their positions were frequently reversed, as Naipaul sought Theroux's guidance and advice. They became each other's editors, confidants, and teachers.

From Singapore to London, India to South Africa, the writers corresponded and crossed paths. Naipaul's brother, Shiva, is part of the story, and so is Margaret, Naipaul's Anglo-Argentine companion. A formidable and intensely private figure, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and is often cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize, Naipaul was close to few others except his first and second wives and Theroux himself. Naipaul was the first to read and champion Theroux's earliest efforts. Over time, they witnessed each other's successes and failures.

Built around exotic landscapes, anecdotes that are revealing, humorous, and melancholy, and three decades of mutual history, this is a very personal account of how one develops as a writer, how a friendship waxes and wanes between two men who have set themselves on the perilous journey of a writing life, and what constitutes the relationship of a mentor and student. Told with Theroux's impeccable eye for place and setting and his novelistic instinct for character and incident, Sir Vidia's Shadow recalls Nicholson Baker's U and I: A True Story, Rainer Maria Rilke's classic Letters to a Young Poet, and Boswell's Life of Johnson, but it is nearly without precedent in anatomizing the nature of writing as well as the nature of friendship itself.

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Houghton Mifflin Co

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