The Mystic Masseur

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Overview

In this slyly funny 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.

In 1940s Trinidad masseurs were the medical practitioners of choice. Ganesh treats not only muscle pain but people pursued by malign clouds or afflicted with an amorous fascination with ...
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The Mystic Masseur

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Overview

In this slyly funny 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.

In 1940s Trinidad masseurs were the medical practitioners of choice. Ganesh treats not only muscle pain but people pursued by malign clouds or afflicted with an amorous fascination with bicycles. His 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. 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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is India. I don’t know any other book that comes so near to capturing the whole crazy spectrum.... Brilliant.” — The Observer

“A Tolstoyan spirit.... The so-called Third World has produced no more brilliant literary artist.” — John Updike

“Naipaul is a master of English prose.” — J. M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books

“V. S. Naipaul has a substantial claim as a comic writer.... This humor, conducted throughout with the utmost stylistic quietude, is completely original.” — Kingsley Amis, The Spectator

“Mr. Naipaul travels with the artist’s eye and ear and his observations are sharply discerning.” — Evelyn Waugh

“For sheer abundance of talent there can hardly be a writer alive who surpasses V. S. Naipaul. [He is] the world’s writer, a master of language and perception.” — The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375707148
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/8/2002
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: First Vintage International Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 728,616
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

V. S. Naipaul
V. S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932. He has published more than 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, including A House for Mr. Biswas, A Bend in the River, The Enigma of Arrival and An Area of Darkness. He lives in Wiltshire, England. He was knighted in 1990 and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001.
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    1. Also Known As:
      Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chaguanas, Trinidad
    1. Education:
      Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, 1943-48; B.A., University College, Oxford, 1953

Read an Excerpt

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.
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