The Mystic Masseur

The Mystic Masseur

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by V. S. Naipaul
     
 

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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

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780435986469
Publisher:
Heinemann
Publication date:
01/28/1971
Series:
Caribbean Writers Series
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.48(h) x (d)

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.

What People are saying about this

Paul Theroux
Ganesh...has the virtues of all Naipul's best characters: an awareness of the world, intelligence, a sense of humour, and endlessly inventive and sustaining imagination.
William Walsh
Naipaul's prose style...corresponds to an unbending hones, the more equivalent of clarity of perception, and it is a power which enables Naipual to see not only Ganesh but minor characters and other contradictory, complexity and depth.

Meet the Author

V. S. Naipaul lives in Wiltshire, England.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Wiltshire, England
Date of Birth:
August 17, 1932
Place of Birth:
Chaguanas, Trinidad
Education:
Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, 1943-48; B.A., University College, Oxford, 1953

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Mystic Masseur 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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