Daily Notes on Literature, Pop Culture & Media, and Academia

V.S. Naipaul’s New Book “The Masque of Africa”

Posted by litdaily on August 31, 2010

Aminatta Forna writes that while Sir Vidia Naipaul’s new book The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief treats its subject with the required playfulness and patience, it is also fundamentally flawed because Naipaul does not provide enough evidence to prove gathered information. This exploration of “African” belief systems is chased by the shadow of Naipaul’s racist attitudes…more>>

In this case then, judge the book by its cover. The image of an African mask on the cover combined with the words “Africa” and “belief” in the title hint toward portrayals of “Africans” as “grotesque” and “primitive”. Perhaps, Sir Naipaul missed the satire in Binyavanga Wainaina’s essay “How to Write about Africa”.


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