A remarkable work of reportage by NobelPrize Laureate V. S. Naipaulthat surveys belief andreligion amongthe disparate peoples of Africa.
Like all of 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. It is a masterly achievement by one of the world's keenest observers and one of its greatest writers.
“Engaging. . . . Naipaul’s latest African journey is eyewitness reporting at its best.”
“Beautiful and humane. . . . The idea that underpins it is so basic that it achieves a kind of majesty.”
“Neither a romantic’s nor an anthropologist’s tale. It is a collection of voices that make sense only in relation to one another. . . . What’s important is what’s being said. . . . [Naipaul’s is a] brilliant and elastic mind.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“With extraordinary sensitivity, Naipaul registers the beauty of [African] traditions but also captures their cruelty.”
“One of Naipaul’s most stirring books. . . . [He] combines the objectivity of a disaster photographer and an understanding of history.”
—The Independent (London)