...I said (when asked to name three of my favorite writers), "James Baldwin, for his fire and bravery." Now of course James Baldwin isn't my only favorite writer. I have several of those. But it's been kind of wonderful to learn that there's new writing of his to be read. A new set of his "uncollected" essays--The Cross of Redemption--was published in August of this year, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. describes the book as [another] of Baldwin's gifts to our literary tradition. I guess my excitement at the news made him roll off my typing fingers faster than other favorites.
But not to be left out is another of my favorites, V.S. Naipaul, who also has a new book out, and according to this Telegraph review by Sameer Rahim, it promises to be another of Naipaul's entertaining and unchecked expressions of his journey in this life so far. Rahim writes of Naipaul's Masque of Africa:
Naipaul has always been able to spot a fraud, and the best writing in this book deals with native healers and fortune-tellers. In Uganda he enters a small office and spots a framed certificate on the wall: the witch doctor has an official license so that “no believer need feel ashamed”. In Nigeria he teases a fortune-teller by asking whether or not his daughter will get married (Naipaul has no children). The man replies that she is cursed and that only a fee will release her. “But what he’s told me is good,” says a straight-faced Naipaul. “I don’t want the girl to get married.”