My cruelty killed first wife: V.S. Naipaul

March 21st, 2008 - 7:53 pm ICT by admin  


London, March 21 (IANS) Nobel Prize-winning writer Sir V.S. Naipaul says the mental cruelty he inflicted on his first wife may have contributed to her death, according to a new biography quoted by a British newspaper Friday. Naipaul, 75, tormented his first wife Patricia for four decades, visited prostitutes and had an extra-marital affair for 24 years, the biography by Patrick French says.

The Daily Telegraph, which is to serialise the book, said that although Patricia knew of Naipaul’s affair with his love Margaret Gooding, it was his disclosure about visits to prostitutes that finally killed her.

According to Patrick French, Patricia learnt that her husband regularly saw prostitutes in London after he boasted about it in a magazine interview in 1994. She had just had a mastectomy and was in remission from cancer.

She found the disclosure so abhorrent that it sent her rapidly downhill and she died in 1996, says French.

Naipaul admits in the biography, titled “The World Is What It Is”: “I think that consumed her. I think she had all the relapses and everything after that. She suffered. It could be said that I killed her. It could be said. I feel a little bit that way.”

Patricia and Naipaul, who met at Oxford, were married in 1955. He ended his affair with the married Margaret Gooding as Patricia lay dying.

A day after her funeral, Naipaul “welcomed into his home” a Pakistani journalist, Nadira Khannum Alvi, and married her two months later, the newspaper reported.

French, a well-known writer on India and Tibet, was given free access to all of Naipaul’s papers and is the first person to read Patricia’s 24 volumes of diaries, kept under lock and key at the University of Tulsa since Naipaul sold his archive for $620,000.

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