"The Return of Eva Perón" with "The Killings in Trinidad" (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
A pervading sense of despair over mankind’s inability to rise above self-interest and its penchant for stupidly destructive acts links the four essays which make up V. S. (Vidiadhar Surajprasad) Naipaul’s The Return of Eva Perón. Three of the essays focus on particular situations in widely separated countries of the third world—Trinidad, Argentina, and Zaire—which stand as historical exempla of the heart of darkness taking in all; and the fourth is an analysis of Joseph Conrad’s somber understanding that most men go mad when denied a clear vision of the world. Naipaul searches for some sign of human excellence struggling to assert itself in these countries, but finds none. It is a depressing book, but so well argued and researched that its melancholy message cannot be dismissed, however unpalatable it may be.
“Michael X and the Black Power Killings in Trinidad” chronicles the aberrant rise and ignominious fall of Michael de Freitas, or Michael X, as he called himself. In brief, Michael X had left Trinidad in 1957, spent fourteen years in England where he was a pimp and drug dealer, had been caught in the spirit of Black Power, achieved newspaper notoriety as a black spokesman, established a commune called Black House in Islington which existed more in words than reality, got in trouble with the law, and, in 1971, returned to...
(The entire section is 1742 words.)
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