Pique Performance

"Tell the truth," V.S. Naipaul advised the young Paul Theroux in the mid-1960s, when the latter asked him how to get started as a novelist. As contradictory as that might seem — novelists make things up for a living, after all — anyone who has written fiction, or even tried to tell a convincing lie, knows exactly what Naipaul meant. The best tales have the air, feel and smell of authenticity about them, and the paradoxical aspect of good fiction is this honesty.

From his very first book — 1957's The Mystic...

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