Feud for thought

From The Guardian:

VS-Naipaul-and-Paul-Thero-007 Well, it was fun while it lasted. After 15 years, novelists Paul Theroux and VS Naipaul have finally ended their bookish bust-up, with a little help from Ian McEwan. Friends for three decades, the pair fell out in the mid-90s after the Trinidadian sold off one of Theroux's books – personally dedicated to Naipaul – for $1,500. Theroux responded with a memoir of their friendship, Sir Vidia's Shadow, which labelled Naipaul a racist, an egoist and a mercenary. All this hand-wringing came to an end last weekend with a simple handshake. Spotting Naipaul in the green room at the Hay festival, Theroux turned to McEwan and asked what he should do. “Life is short,” McEwan replied. “You should say hello.” And with that, handbags were holstered. But all is not lost. Ever since Tolstoy challenged Turgenev to a duel, the vendetta has been part and parcel of literary life – and it will survive even Theroux and Naipaul. These feuds appear to be alive and well:

Salman Rushdie v John le Carré

The novelists fell out in the late 80s, when Le Carré criticised Rushdie's Satanic Verses. After Le Carré was accused of anti-semitism in 1997, Rushdie waded in, writing to the Guardian about his lack of sympathy. “Rushdie's way with the truth is as self-serving as ever,” replied Le Carré in the next day's edition. A further missive from Rushdie called the crime writer “a pompous ass”.

Possible peacemaker: At the time Christopher Hitchens muddied the waters, calling Le Carré “a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head”. It's his job to clean things up.

More here.

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