The Masque of Africa

The Masque of Africa

Glimpses of African Belief

Book - 2010
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Understanding Africa is critical for all concerned with the world today: in what promises to be his final great work of reportage, one of the keenest observers of the continent surveys the effects of belief and religion on the disparate peoples of Africa.

The Masque of Africa is Nobel Prize-winning V. S. Naipaul's first major work of non-fiction to be published since his internationally bestselling Beyond Belief . Like all of Naipaul's great works of non-fiction, The Masque of Africa is superficially a book of travels -- full of people, stories and landscapes he visits -- but it also encompasses a larger narrative and purpose: to judge the effects of belief (whether in indigenous animisms, faiths imposed by other cultures, or even the cults of leaders and mythical history) upon the progress of civilization.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2010.
ISBN: 9780307399953
Characteristics: 241 p. ;,25 cm.


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Sep 12, 2016

Unlike his other travel books, this one isn't filled with description (Middle Passage), conversation (Beyond Belief), a mix of perception, reflection, meditation, and judgement (Area of Darkness; Wounded Civilization; Among the Believers; Million Mutinies Now), instead, he for the most part records his experiences. Some of the things one learns are odd: apart from bush meat (eg., elephants and monkeys), people eat cats and bats, and he even describes preferred ways to killing cats. The tone is solemn and sad: "The bush was almost barren of wildlife, but these people were managing to squeeze out the last remnants, while their fertile land remained largely unused." (pg. 130)

May 12, 2015


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