- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 27, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0306815672
- ISBN-13: 978-0306815676
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #950,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Call of the Weird: Encounters with Survivalists, Porn Stars, Alien Killers, and Ike Turner Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Ten years after hosting a BBC series on weird American subcultures, Theroux decided to make a "Reunion Tour" and write a book about how his interviewees' lives had changed. Theroux's weird Americans were UFO enthusiasts, porn stars, Aryan Nation white supremacists, brothel prostitutes, gangsta rappers, become-a-millionaire scammers, Heaven's Gate survivors and, strangely, Ike Turner. Theroux (son of writer Paul Theroux) likes them because he believes they use weirdness to feel "alive," and that's "more important than telling the truth." Apart from that, what they have in common, 10 years later, is their unavailability—the porn star had become a computer programmer, the UFOer was inhabiting a different reality, and the prostitute was either born-again or doing drugs, hard to say. So Theroux settled for talking to others in their communities. Although he sometimes criticizes himself for botching things (trying unsuccessfully to attend the Millionaires seminar as the guest of a blacklisted former adherent), Theroux never criticizes his subjects, confining himself to what he hopes will be inoffensive questions—like, have you "ever thought of trying to be less racist?" As their rants become repetitious, these "weird" subjects become surprisingly boring. By the end, readers may wonder why Theroux still finds these people so "alive," so interesting. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Paul Theroux's son writes with just as clear an eye for character and place as his father.... And he's funny.... Theroux's final analysis of American weirdness is true and new."
"Deseret News," 5/30/08
"If you're after weird, this is the right book."
"Tucson Citizen," 6/5/08
"Is there something particularly weird about Americans? Louis Theroux, the king of offbeat documentaries, searches for the answer while mixing it up with an assortment of some of our more colorful natives."
Curled Up with a Good Book, 8/08
"It's a fun read, but even more so, it's an interesting one. You'll have trouble putting it down...Theroux presents the humanity in his subjects without necessarily sympathizing with them, walking the fine line between their extreme views and the normalcy of everyday life... Alternately funny and disturbing...An excellent read."
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Top customer reviews
The book is his journey to see what has happened to people in his documentaries a few years on, it seems to explore if the people have kept up with their beliefs, and if he can can get to know the more personal side of his interviewees off camera.
There is a brief repetition of some of his documentaries in this book to give people who haven't seen the documentary context.
Although you cannot see the entertaining facial expressions, tone and body language he uses in his documentaries, his writing has a beautiful flow and keeps you entertained throughout. A must read for any Louis Theroux fans.
If you're unfamiliar with Theroux's film work, I'd recommend checking it out before reading this book. I'm sure the book can still be enjoyed without the background context, but it will be better understood if you have already met the subjects and, most importantly, Theroux.
Most recent customer reviews
Hope he writes some more books soon.