March 1, 2009

HE'S AN OK NOVELIST...:

Classic book review: Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey: A vivid, opinionated journey through the world of Islam: a review of Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey By V. S. Naipaul (Roderick Nordelll, March 1, 2009, CS Monitor)

[The Monitor occasionally reprints material from its archives. This book review originally ran on Oct. 13, 1981.] [...]

For all that Naipaul finds to appreciate, he keeps coming back to variations on the theme that many Muslims would reject – and indeed did reject early in Iran’s revolution, for example, when they took pains to deny any assumptions that radical adherence to ancient Islam meant denial of the modern world of democracy and invention.

To Naipaul the new Islam raises political issues without providing political solutions, thus encouraging anarchy.

To him the new “believers” do renounce what they regard as materialism, while remaining reliant on it, and thus disclose a central flaw. It is the expectation that the technology they need, the education they need, will continue to come from someone else; namely, the “spiritually barren” alien lands where creative energy has not been stifled or abandoned.


...but a brilliant travel writer.


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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2009 9:59 AM
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