Books: A Grinning Buddha

FONG AND THE INDIANS by Paul Theroux. 199 pages. Houghfon Mifflin. $4.95.

The morning-line odds are 99-1 against a young American writing a novel about contemporary Africa that is neither artistically pretentious nor piously angry, but just funny. Paul Theroux, 26, a former Peace Corps volunteer now teaching English at Makerere University in Uganda, beats the odds. He has produced a satire out of very unlikely material: a Chinese grocer struggling for survival in a mythical East African country.

His bumbling hero, Sam Fong, is the perfect dupe. Trapped in an East African...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!