Like all of V. S. Naipaul's "travel" books, The Masque of Africa encompasses a much larger narrative and purpose: to judge 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 civilization.
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"A sharply written and engrossing exploration of the effects of religious and spiritual belief on societies. Effective both as a vivid piece of travel writing and for its glimpses of belief in Africa." - Library Journal
"Ever fair-minded, soberly reflective, and conciliatory, Naipaul offers his sage observations in the hope that by learning more, we accept greater." - Publishers Weekly
"A work more narrative than reflective, but Naipaul's prose remains smooth, subtle, often silvery." - Kirkus
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V.S. Naipaul (Vidiadhar Surajprasad) was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad, on 17 August 1932, the eldest son of a second-generation Indian. He was educated at Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, and, after winning a government scholarship, in
England at University College, Oxford. He worked briefly for the BBC as a writer and editor for the 'Caribbean Voices' programme.
His first three books are comic portraits of Trinidadian society. The Mystic Masseur (1957) won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958 and was adapted as a film with a screenplay by Caryl Phillips in 2001. Miguel Street (1959), a collection of short stories, won a Somerset Maugham Award. His acclaimed novel A House for Mr Biswas (1961), is based on his father's life in Trinidad. His first novel set in England, Mr...
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