From Naipaul’s India to the last days of Hong Kong, and from the ghosts of Pearl Harbor to Benazir Bhutto, Buruma delivers an engaging and incisive look at the ways East and West understand–and misunderstand–each other.
At home in both worlds, Buruma traverses the realms of journalism, literary criticism, and political analysis, to examine the dialogue of fact and fantasy that affects our perception of far-away lands. Whether deconstructing the films of Satyajit Ray or the novels of Yoshimoto Banana, Buruma offers a splendid counterbalance to fashionable theories of clashing civilizations and uniquely Asian values. In twenty-five illuminating, often humorous essays, The Missionary and the Libertine shows us why Buruma’s reputation for writing the most compelling commentary on the faultlines of the East-West divide is so secure.
The author of five previous books, Ian Buruma lives in London.
Advance praise for
The Missionary and the Libertine
"The diversity of Buruma's cultural references and the wit and acuity with which he uses them make these essays refreshingly entertaining and intelligent. Buruma is a cultural omnivore. . . . The eclecticism inherent in a collection of essays that spans a decade and examines the relationship between Asia and the West through literary criticism, political commentary, meditations on the ephemera of popular culture and the biographies of eccentric colonialists is further emphasized by Buruma's intellectual acrobatics."
--Alev Adil, Times Literary Supplement
"A fluent and enjoyable book."