Insightful, but a little too disjointed and self-indulgent, not to mention grumpy. Naipaul’s famous scorn for other writers’ work is on full display here, to the extent that one performs a double take upon seeing a stray word of praise [he heartily approves of Madame Bovary though, thankfully, but takes down Flaubert’s historical novel Salambbo]. His uncharitable views on Anthony Powell, a renowned novelist and Naipaul’s mentor and friend in England, for instance, are really quite vicious. In addition, if you’ve already read Naipaul’s India trilogy, especially ‘An Area of Darkness’ and ‘India: A Wounded Civilization’, the chapters about India and Gandhi will seem severely repetitive. The editor shouldn’t have let such sloppiness pass. Overall, this one seems like a filler book Naipaul wrote to pass his time, reminiscing about days past, playing his inevitable role as the lion in winter.
Help! Awesome has been gorging it’s way into my vocabulary. Awesome has already gobbled up gorgeous and belched out beautiful. Awesome has made mincemeat ofmagnificent and licked the plates clean. It likes to chew on charming thirty two times for good health. It stirs stunning with a large metal spoon and slurps it down. Elegant leaves a pleasant aftertaste in its cavernous mouth. My pink unimaginative tongue arranges a three course meal for this greedy monster every day. It plonks on the table with a weary sigh, for it knows it has a lot of adjectives to devour. “What do you have for me today?”, its stomach rumbles. My tongue rushes over to whisper the menu in its hairy ear, for if the adjectives hear about their fate they tend to despair. The daring ones make a run for it. Just the other day, epic and insane escaped and are now hiding out in the roof of my mouth. They come out now and then for a breath of fresh air when awesome falls asleep on the table after a particularly heavy lunch. However this can mean a whoopy ride down its throat for them because it often wakes up with a start, looks around wildly and begins asking for more adjectives, even the terrible ones. And some more. When its demands grow untenably large, my tongue heaps all the unruly adjectives on a plate and gently pushes the steaming pile right under its nose. That’s when it’s the happiest. When it gets everything at once. And then I have nothing else to say except “That’s fuckin’ awesome dude!”
You know what’s not awesome? Awesome. Awesome is just plain awful.