Archive for the ‘Encounters’ Category

On the way to Satjelia, Sundarbans, 2000

May 27, 2011 in Encounters | Comments (0)

Encounters: Gore Vidal in Montreal

April 30, 2011 in Encounters | Comments (3)



Encounters: Gore Vidal at Montreal


Gore Vidal’s Julian is one of the finest epistolary novels I’ve ever read. Listening to him in Montreal, I reverted to the habits of my journalistic days and took out my notebook:


“Better to expect bad behaviour than to be surprised by it.”


“If you expect the worst you’re never going to be disappointed by the United States.”


“Obama is one of the better Presidents of recent times; much brighter than the people he is obliged to represent.”


On Truman Capote: “He was a compulsive liar which made him very popular in the United States. Our journalists think lying is the ultimate truth.”


On Jackie Onassis: “Consanguinity requires me to talk of relatives only in guarded terms as they all have numerous lawyers.”


“Cemeteries are the most beautiful things in America; I know more people in them than outside.”




In A Writer’s Garden

April 16, 2011 in Encounters | Comments (3)

With Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Gardening was one of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s passions. I visited the great Indonesian writer at his home in Jakarta in 1997, nine years before his death.


He was so good-humoured, and laughed so easily, that it was hard to believe that he had spent many years of his life in a prison camp.

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