Saturday, September 25, 2010
Africa through Naipaul's eyes
— V S Naipaul: The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief (Picador India, Rs 595)
Naipaul knows Africa well. He has lived and worked in East Africa: “Home Again” in A Way with the World (1994) is based on his time there. In a Free State (1971) and A Bend in the River (1979) are both “about” Africa. Overall, Naipaul’s vision of Africa has been remarkably constant, you might say even rigid: The Masque of Africa merely reiterates his earlier views that Africa is a dreamlike and threatening place that resists understanding, that eats away at reason and the technological products of reason. Joseph Conrad, the man from the fringes of the West has been one of the major influences on Naipaul and many of the images of Naipaul’s Africa have come out of Heart of Darkness. Unlike his three books on India — An Area of Darkness, India: A Wounded Civilisation and India: A Million Mutinies Now — which reflect a growing understanding of the complexity of the subcontinent within the framework of history, there is little such generosity with Africa as a whole.
Full report here Business Standard