Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."
Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head."
"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''
Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré: It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.
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NYT: Prolific, Elegant, Acerbic Writer:
Gore Vidal, the elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization, died on Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, where he moved in 2003, after years of living in Ravello, Italy. He was 86.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers said by telephone.
Mr. Vidal was, at the end of his life, an Augustan figure who believed himself to be the last of a breed, and he was probably right. Few American writers have been more versatile or gotten more mileage from their talent. He published some 25 novels, two memoirs and several volumes of stylish, magisterial essays. He also wrote plays, television dramas and screenplays. For a while he was even a contract writer at MGM. And he could always be counted on for a spur-of-the-moment aphorism, putdown or sharply worded critique of American foreign policy.
A quick sampler: 40 Quotes:
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Video embed courtesy: the New Yorker which credits Reza Aslan for the video who, according to the New Yorker, "was in the green room when Paul Theroux and V. S. Naipaul had their encounter. Aslan happened to be taking a video with his phone, when, to his surprise, Theroux approached Naipaul and offered his hand. As Aslan put it on his Twitter feed (he’s @rezaaslan): “Holy Cow! I caught first face to face reconciliation of Paul Theroux & VS Naipaul. Magical moment.”
As the New Yorker's the Book Bench notes:
(Note: the audio isn’t stellar, but you can just hear Theroux tell Naipaul that he’s missed him, and Naipaul say, “When you get old...” a beginning which we can perhaps all complete for ourselves. You can also hear the amused tone in Nadira Naipaul’s voice as she shakes hands and tells Theroux it’s nice to see him.)
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Once there was Lalu who wanted to make the roads of Bihar "like Hema Malini's cheeks". And now there is General Mirza Aslam Beg, Pakistan's former chief of army staff, offering us some exquisite prose