The Mystic Masseur's Wife

The Mystic Masseur's Wife

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Author/Contributor(s): Maharaj, J Vijay
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Date: 07/28/2022
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
At the end of V.S. Naipaul's satire on Hindu life in Trinidad, The Mystic Masseur, the protagonist, Ganesh Ramsumair, caps his rise to fame as a colonial politician, by transforming himself into an English gentleman, G. Ramsay Muir, and heading off to England. In Naipaul's novel, Ganesh's wife, Leela, plays a very secondary, indeed recessive role, though there are occasional clues that she has a clearer grasp of reality than her husband. In the hidden spaces of Naipaul's novel, J. Vijay Maharaj creates a quite different kind of story for Leela, who decides that when her husband abandons Trinidad for England, she is too much attached to her life on the island to follow him. All this is relayed to the author by Leela in her later years, in a series of tape-recordings, which form the basis for the novel. This is much more than a necessary rewriting of the male-centredness of VS Naipaul's perspective, though Maharaj creates an inventive and often richly humorous counter-narrative within that novel's plotlines, as well as a dynamic afterlife for Leela after Naipaul's novel ends. Maharaj creates for Leela an utterly convincing and compelling voice--earthy, shrewd, and in love with life.