(and surprisingly sympathetic) profile of V. S. Naipaul by Rachel Donadia in the New York Times. Among other interesting insights, the following (and I am STRONGLY reminded of a certain friend of mine...):
In conversation, another dynamic becomes apparent, in which the more dismissive Naipaul is of a writer, the more likely it is that he has engaged deeply with that writer's work. Sitting a few feet away from a bookshelf of French novels, Naipaul called Proust ''tedious,'' ''repetitive,'' ''self-indulgent,'' concerned only with a character's social status. ''What is missing in Proust is this idea of a moral center,'' he said. Naipaul also had little respect for Joyce's ''Ulysses'' -- ''the Irish book,'' he sniffily called it -- and other works ''that have to lean on borrowed stories.'' Lately, he has found Stendhal ''repetitive, tedious, infuriating,'' while ''the greatest disappointment was Flaubert.''