"Brilliant. . . . A powerfully observed, stylistically elegant exploration." --The New York Times
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
"The book's strength lies in Naipaul's extraordinary ability as a storyteller to draw striking portraits of a cross section of individuals."--The Boston Globe
Fourteen years after the publication of his landmark travel narrative Among the Believers, V. S. Naipaul returned to the four non-Arab Islamic countries he reported on so vividly at the time of Ayatollah Khomeini's triumph in Iran. Beyond Belief is the result of his five-month journey in 1995 through Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia--lands where descendants of Muslim converts live at odds with indigenous traditions, and where dreams of Islamic purity clash with economic and political realities.
In extended conversations with a vast number of people--a rare survivor of the martyr brigades of the Iran-Iraq war, a young intellectual training as a Marxist guerilla in Baluchistan, an impoverished elderly couple in Teheran whose dusty Baccarat chandeliers preserve the memory of vanished wealth, and countless others--V. S. Naipaul deliberately effaces himself to let the voices of his subjects come through. Yet the result is a collection of stories that has the author's unmistakable stamp. With its incisive observation and brilliant cultural analysis, Beyond Belief is a startling and revelatory addition to the Naipaul canon.
"Highly accomplished. . . . Another display of Naipaul's remarkable talent." --The Independent (London)