There is a moment in “Sir Vidia’s Shadow,” Paul Theroux’s memoir of a long friendship with the Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul, when the writer describes the giddy pleasure Naipaul took in contemplating wealth.
“Smiling beneath his sunglasses,” Mr. Theroux wrote, “he said he loved the expression ‘lots of money.’ Someone saying ‘I have lots of money’ tickled him. As we drove along he tried out the words, saying them in different ways: “Lots of money . . . Lots of money.”