Patrick French

“IT WAS CALAMITOUS for me. I feel a deep, deep grief.” Sir V.S. Naipaul is talking about his dead cat. We are sitting in the spacious two-story London flat in Kensington where the author and his welcoming second wife, Nadira, stay when they are not at their Wiltshire country residence. “Now that Augustus has died, I want to spend more time in London,” he continues, slowly picking at the meal Nadira has provided. “It is too painful to be [in Wiltshire]. I think of Augustus. He was the sum of my experiences.

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  “IT WAS CALAMITOUS for me. I feel a deep, deep grief.” Sir V.S. Naipaul is talking about his dead cat. We are sitting in the spacious two-story London flat in Kensington where the author and his welcoming second wife, Nadira, stay when they are not at their Wiltshire country residence. “Now that Augustus has died, I want to spend more time in London,” he continues, slowly picking at the meal Nadira has provided. “It is too painful to be [in Wiltshire]. I think of Augustus. He was the sum of my experiences.

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Last month, a little-known British historian named Andrew Robert swas swept into the White House for a three-hour-long hug. He lunched with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, huddled alone with the president in the Oval Office, and was rapturously lauded by him as"great." Roberts was so fawned over that his wife, Susan Gilchrist,told the London Observer, "I thought I had a crush on him, but it's nothing like the crush President Bush has on him." At first glance, this isn't surprising.

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