This volume presents two of V. S. Naipaul's earliest novels, already displaying his humour, endless inventiveness and imaginitive brilliance. "The Mystic Masseur" tells the story of Ganesh, who at the beginning of the novel is a struggling masseur at a time when 'masseurs were ten a penny in Trinidad'. From failed primary-school teacher and masseur to author, revered mystic and MBE, his is a journey memorable for its hilarious and bewildering success. Naipaul's clarity of style, humorous touch and powerful characterization are all in evidence in this, his first book. Funny, touching and perceptive, this novel is a wonderful introduction for readers new to Naipaul's writing. Included too in this edition is another exceptional early novel, "Miguel Street", which won the Somerset Maugham Award on its appearance in 1959.
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In this slyly funny and lavishly inventive novel-his first-V. S. Naipaul traces the unlikely career of Ganesh Ramsumair, a failed schoolteacher and impecunious village masseur who in time becomes a revered mystic, a thriving entrepreneur, and the most beloved politician in Trinidad. To understand a little better, one has to realize that in the 1940s masseurs were the island's medical practitioners of choice. As one character observes, "I know the sort of doctors they have in Trinidad. They think nothing of killing two, three people before breakfast."
Ganesh's ascent is variously aided and impeded by a Dickensian cast of rogues and eccentrics. There's his skeptical wife, Leela, whose schooling has made her excessively, fond. of; punctuation: marks!; and Leela's father, Ramlogan, a man of startling mood changes and an ever-ready cutlass. There's the aunt known as The Great Belcher. There are patients pursued by malign clouds or afflicted with an amorous fascination with bicycles. Witty, tender, filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of Trinidad's dusty Indian villages, The Mystic Masseur is Naipaul at his most expansive and evocative.
“One of the few contemporary writers of whom we can speak in terms of greatness.”–Mel Gussow, Newsday
“For sheer abundance of talent, there can hardly be a writer alive who surpasses V. S. Naipaul.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Naipaul’s writing is clean and beautiful, and he has a great eye for nuance.”–The Atlantic Monthly
“No one else around today...seems able to employ prose fiction so deeply as the very voice of exile.”–The New York Review of Books
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Book Description Picador, 2003. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780330487122
Book Description Picador, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0330487124
Book Description Picador, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110330487124