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The Masque of Africa

Glimpses of African Belief

V. S. Naipaul

Moving beyond travelogue, The Masque of Africa considers the effects of belief (in indigenous animisms, the foreign religions of Christianity and Islam, the cults of leaders and mythical history) upon the progress of African civilization. Beginning in Uganda, at the centre of the continent, Naipaul’s journey takes in Ghana and Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Gabon, and ends, as the country does, in South Africa. 

Focusing upon the theme of belief – though sometimes the political or economical realities are so overwhelming that they have to be taken into account – Naipaul examines the fragile but enduring quality of the old world of magic. To witness the ubiquity of such ancient ritual, to be given some idea of its power, was to be taken far back to the beginning of things. To reach that beginning was the purpose of this book.

‘Naipaul travels, he asks, he listens attentively and, above all else, he notices, often seeing what others do not or cannot. That acute gift has never left him . . . he is sustained by the old ideal of unadorned truth-telling’ New Statesman

‘The quality of Naipaul’s writing – simple, concise, engaging – rarely varies . . . Above all, Naipaul’s latest African journey is eyewitness reporting at its best’ Time

‘Compelling, insightful, often sombrely beautiful’ Sunday Telegraph

Genre: Non-Fiction
ISBN: 978033047204301
Published: 16/06/2011

V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He went to England on a scholarship in 1950. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write and since then has followed no other profession. He has published more than twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, including Half a Life, A House for Mr Biswas, A Bend in the River, The Masque of Africa, and a collection of correspondence, Letters Between A Father and Son. In 2001 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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