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In Fresh Air Fiend, Theroux's pen serves him well with astute, lively pieces that stray far beyond simple "travel essays" and reveal his self-inflicted lifestyle of compulsive travel, writing, and alienation. In this collection--containing mostly previously published magazine pieces written over the past 15 years--there's a strong autobiographical streak, as well as historical perspectives and a sardonic view on aging. "One of the more bewildering aspects of growing older," he writes in "'Memory and Creation,'" "is that people constantly remind you of things that never happened."
Now nearly 60, Theroux has lived a rich, varied life: the book jumps from post-Mao China and years spent as an Africa-based Peace Corps volunteer in the '60s to turtle watching in Hawaii and kayaking on Cape Cod; the jumbled collection even includes pieces on other travel writers (Bruce Chatwin, Graham Greene, and William Least Heat-Moon) and the film adaptation of his novel The Mosquito Coast. A chronic sense of aloneness permeates all these pieces--be it the lost traveler paddling through fog, the lone writer living without a phone, or the hermetic trekker who can't speak the native language. Most touching: a short sketch of a road trip when he's lost, his wife is anxious, and the children are fighting; Theroux doesn't want the moment to end and soon enough he returns to his self-imposed alienation. It's that perpetual sense of loneliness and not fitting in that seems to motivate Theroux in many of these essays. Theroux may be getting older, even nostalgic, but as these vibrant essays show, he sure isn't getting stale. --Melissa Rossi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book gives you a good insight into the writer's life and motivations. Why he wrote things when he did. So people who are familiar with his work will enjoy this. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. Van Wyk
Paul is a must read for anyone who enjoys travel. He makes you feel as though you are with him, and makes you want to go everywhere he goes. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Wm. Tim Derflinger
With the number of locations to be 'discovered' falling dramatically, it is great to read an author who can bring to life simple things and keep you engrossed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Manoj
My first book by Theroux, and I picked it due to it's high review rating. I'm enjoying it very much!Published 11 months ago by R. Jepson
Find the writing clear and insightful, and inspiring. As an essay writer myself, I am keen
on reading those writers who have perfected the form.
An early collection of travel essays covering both foreign and domestic locations, "Fresh Air Fiend" is also a collection of small self-discoveries. Read morePublished 15 months ago by S. Dahl
I love Paul Theroux's travel writing. I read one essay every so often. I'm not finished yet. So far I like this book very much. Read morePublished 15 months ago by QueenB
Paul Theroux says normal people don't become writers. It is just not healthy to sit in a room for hours staring intently into your own mind. Read morePublished on November 3, 2009 by Linda Ballou
I usually search for a Paul Theroux book when I'm travelling, be it a plane, ship or carriage, probably living vicariously through some of his adventures and watching for people... Read morePublished on February 21, 2009 by Joseph H. Race