Bhargavi Balachandran's Reviews > The Mystic Masseur

The Mystic Masseur by V.S. Naipaul
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Jun 07, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: borrowed-books, british-council, fiction, trinidad, read-in-2010, humor, favorites



I can't remember chuckling so much reading any book in the last few months.. Mystic Masseur by V.S Naipaul is one of the finest comic capers i have laid my eyes upon.It is the story of the rise of Ganesh Ramasumair,a failed Primary school teacher and struggling masseur to a writer ,mystic and finally a MBE(Member of executive council) in Trinidad.The book is written in the strangely hilarious English spoken by the Trinidadian people and is set in Colonial Trinidad. Sample some of the rioutous sentence constructions..


"The Pundit we looking for."
"I does read."
"It have man I want to see in oilfields."

Delightful, no?.

Add to that a motley crew of characters like Ramlogan,Ganesh's father-in-law ,who schemes to get him married off to his daughter and later tries to profit from Ganesh's meteoric rise; The great belcher,the elderly quintessential match-making relative who belches and burps like there was no tomorrow; Leela,Ganesh's wife who punctuates after every word;Suruj Mooma and Suruj Poopa,who motivate Ganesh to write his book and several others.

The first 100 odd pages were so funny that when i read that this was Naipaul's first book,i was in awe. He wrote this book when he was 25!!.However,I had to strain myself to finish the next 100 odd pages as the breezy,wry wit that was so abundant in the first 100 pages disappears without a trace.Despite the narrative being slightly disjointed after Ganesh becomes a Mystic,the book is hilarious.People who love self-deprecating wit,will love Mystic Masseur.The book is a glorious caricature of the people,the sounds and the sights of Trinidad.

Naipaul won the Nobel prize for Literature in 2001 and has scores of other prestigious awards in his kitty.For people who are starting out on Naipaul's books,Mystic masseur is highly recommended.As for me,i loved the book,despite the sagging,lack-lusture narrative after those 100 pages and am excited to start his third book,Miguel street.
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Petra X Why do you find Trinidian English "strangely hilarious"?


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