Patrick French has written an authorized biography of VS Naipaul: The World Is What It Is. Outlook India has published three extracts—the first from French's introduction to the book; the second charting how Naipaul's views on India evolved and changed over 30 years; and the third from a later chapter, in which Naipaul loses one wife (Pat) and gains another (Nadira), even as he discards his mistress (Margaret). Here is the tantalizing last paragraph from the third extract, reflecting the complex, turbulent, and messy nature of his relationships:
And then there was Margaret. To avoid the awkwardness of telling her about his marriage, Vidia remained silent; she learned the news of Nadira's existence from the newspapers. Margaret was distraught, a broken woman, but she was not wholly surprised. She had realised at the end of 1995 that something was wrong, and that Pat's death would alter her position. She had long thought that Vidia would not end his life without going back to someone of his own ethnic background. In her view, perhaps rightly, she knew him better than anyone else had ever known him, or would know him. She saw she had become superfluous, believing Vidia needed a woman for sex and to do things for him, but not for any deeper support. And even a decade after their relationship had come to its sad end, Margaret would still write that her years with him had been the most terrible and wonderful of her life, and that he had taught her everything she knew, mentally and physically.
Also read Robern McCrum's essay on meeting Naipaul to talk about this biography.