Michael Wood, who teaches at Princeton University, is the author, most recently, of Yeats and Violence and Film: A Very Short Introduction.
Self-congratulation, deceptions and the art of failure.
It's hard to resist the misery of V.S. Naipaul's late fiction, hard not to surrender to its bleak and wary authority.
Norman Rush's first novel, Mating (1991), opens with a nervous
but gripping epigram: "In Africa, you want more, I think." The speaker,
an unnamed American anthropologist who doesn't want