London: Indian-origin Nobel laureate VS Naipaul has landed himself in another controversy by penning one of the darkest travelogues about Africa for decades.
Critics believe his new work, `The Masque of Africa`, portrays a continent still caught with one foot in its primitive past and obsessed with eating domestic pets.
According to a report published in The Sunday Times, the Trinidad-born author, who has previously been in hot water for alleged racism, misogyny and disregard of Islam, now writes about witch doctors, buildings allowed to fall into ruin and streets strewn with rubbish.
78-year-old Naipual is particularly harsh about Ivory Coast, where kitten is on the menu.
"I found out what was the best way of killing a cat or kitten. You put them in a sack of some sort and then you dropped the sack in a pot of boiling water. The thought of this everyday kitchen cruelty made everything else in Ivory Coast seem unimportant," he writes.
According to the report, killing cats and dogs and preparing them for the dinner table almost becomes a leitmotif for the book.
In Uganda there is an ancient tale of a man who wants to buy a kitten to eat.
In the north of Ghana "they ate and loved dog; they called it red goat. In the south they ate cats and had almost eaten them out."
In Johannesburg in South Africa, he visits a warehouse full of "muti", or witch doctors` goods, with animal parts laid out.
Novelist Robert Harris, who reviews the book in today`s Culture section, said he found it "repulsive".
He writes: "I am afraid such passages reminded me chiefly of Oswald Mosley, standing for election in Notting Hill in 1959, and accusing black African men of eating dog food and keeping white women locked in basemenets."