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About Paul Theroux
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In one of his most exotic and adventuresome journeys, travel writer Paul Theroux embarks on an eighteen-month tour of the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand's rain forests and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines.
Along the way, Theroux meets the king of Tonga, encounters street gangs in Auckland, and investigates a cargo cult in Vanuatu. From Australia to Tahiti, Fiji, Easter Island, and beyond, this exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure.
In 1973, Paul Theroux embarked on a four-month journey by train from the United Kingdom through Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. In The Great Railway Bazaar, he records in vivid detail and penetrating insight the many fascinating incidents, adventures, and encounters of his grand, intercontinental tour.
Asia's fabled trains—the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express—are the stars of a journey that takes Theroux on a loop eastbound from London's Victoria Station to Tokyo Central, then back from Japan on the Trans-Siberian. Brimming with Theroux's signature humor and wry observations, this engrossing chronicle is essential reading for both the ardent adventurer and the armchair traveler.
The acclaimed author of The Great Railway Bazaar retraces his legendary journey through Europe and Asia in this “funny, informative and lyrical” travelogue (The Guardian, UK).
Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his 25,000-mile journey by train through eastern Europe, central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia. Three decades later, the world he recorded in The Great Railway Bazaar has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India booms while Burma smothers under dictatorship; Vietnam flourishes in the aftermath of the havoc America was unleashing on it the last time Theroux passed through.Now Theroux returns to capture the texture, sights, smells, and sounds of this new landscape. Theroux’s odyssey takes him from eastern Europe, still hung-over from communism. He experiences a tense but thriving Turkey, and a Georgia limping back toward feudalism while its neighbor Azerbaijan revels in oil-fueled capitalism. Through it all, Theroux travels as the locals do—by train, bus, taxi, and foot; he encounters fellow writers, including Orhan Pamuk, Haruki Murakami, and Arthur C. Clarke; and, as always, his omnivorous curiosity and unerring eye for detail capture it all.
The acclaimed author of Dark Star Safari journeys across western Africa in this “thoroughly engrossing [and] at times tragic” travelogue (Washington Post).
Paul Theroux’s best-selling Dark Star Safari chronicled his epic overland voyage from Cairo to Cape Town, providing an insider’s look at modern Africa. Now, with The Last Train to Zona Verde, he returns to discover how both he and Africa have changed in the ensuing years. Traveling alone, Theroux sets out from Cape Town, going north through South Africa, Namibia, then into Angola, encountering a world increasingly removed from tourists’ itineraries and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements.
After covering nearly 2,500 arduous miles, Theroux cuts short his journey, a decision he chronicles with unsparing honesty in a chapter titled “What Am I Doing Here?” Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, The Last Train to Zona Verde is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers.“If this book is proof, age has not slowed Theroux or encouraged him to rest on his achievements . . . Gutsy, alert to Africa's struggles, its injustices and history.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Paul Theroux has spent his life crisscrossing the globe in search of the histories and peoples that give life to the places they call home. Now, as immigration debates boil around the world, Theroux has set out to explore a country key to understanding our current discourse: Mexico. Just south of the Arizona border, in the desert region of Sonora, he finds a place brimming with vitality, yet visibly marked by both the US Border Patrol looming to the north and mounting discord from within. With the same humanizing sensibility he employed in Deep South, Theroux stops to talk with residents, visits Zapotec mill workers in the highlands, and attends a Zapatista party meeting, communing with people of all stripes who remain south of the border even as their families brave the journey north.
From the writer praised for his “curiosity and affection for humanity in all its forms” (New York Times Book Review), On the Plain of Snakes is an exploration of a region in conflict.
The acclaimed travel writer chronicles a year of train travel across China in a revealing travelogue that “gives the reader much to relish and think about” (Publishers Weekly).
The author of the train travel classics The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express, takes to the rails once again in this account of his epic journey through China. The always irascible, infectiously curious author “is in top form as he describes the barren deserts of Mongolia and Xinjiang, the ice forests of Manchuria and the dry hills of Tibet. He captures their otherworldly, haunting appearances perfectly. He is also right on target when he talks about the ugliness of China's poorly planned, hastily built cities” (Mark Salzman, The New York Times).Theroux hops aboard a train as part of a tour group in London and sets out for China's border. He then spends a year traversing the country, where he pieces together a fascinating snapshot of a unique moment in history. From sweeping and desolate natural landscapes to the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton, Theroux offers an unforgettable portrait of a magnificent land and an extraordinary people.
Paul Theroux has spent decades roaming the globe and writing of his experiences with remote people and far-flung places. Now, for the first time, he turns his attention to a corner of America—the Deep South. On a winding road trip through Mississippi, South Carolina, and elsewhere below the Mason-Dixon, Theroux discovers architectural and artistic wonders, incomparable music, mouth-watering cuisine—and also some of the worst schools, medical care, housing, and unemployment rates in the nation.
Most fascinating of all are Theroux’s many encounters with the people who make the South what it is—from preachers and mayors to quarry workers and gun show enthusiasts. With his astute ear and penetrating mind, Theroux once again demonstrates his “remarkable gift for getting strangers to reveal themselves” in this eye-opening excursion into his own country (The New York Times Book Review).
“Paul Theroux’s latest travel memoir had me at hello…Theroux pulls no punches in his quest to understand this overlooked margin of American life.” — Boston Globe
Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and "a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface" (Rocky Mountain News). In a new postscript, Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.
A writer turned Hawaiian hotel manager observes the many lives that pass through his rooms in this novel by the author of The Great Railway Bazaar.
A New York Times Notable Book
In this wickedly satiric romp, a down-on-his-luck writer finds escape from his life as the manager of a low-rent hotel a few blocks from the beach in Waikiki. His boss is quick to explain that the Hotel Honolulu is a multistory establishment—and the writer soon discovers just how many stories are contained in its walls.
Honeymooners, vacationers, wanderers, mythomaniacs, soldiers, and families all check in. Like the Canterbury pilgrims, every guest has come in search of something, whether it’s sun, love, happiness, or objects of unnameable longing. And every guest—not to mention the staff, the owner, and the author himself—has a story. By turns hilarious, ribald, tender, and tragic, Hotel Honolulu offers a unique glimpse into the psychological landscape of an American paradise.“A sun-soaked Decameron.”—Chicago Sun-Times
"[THEROUX'S] WORK IS DISTINGUISHED BY A SPLENDID EYE FOR DETAIL AND THE TELLING GESTURE; a storyteller's sense of pacing and gift for granting closure to the most subtle progression of events; and the graceful use of language. . . . We are delighted, along with Theroux, by the politeness of the Turks, amazed by the mountainous highlands in Syria, touched by the gesture of an Albanian waitress who will not let him pay for his modest meal. . . . The Pillars of Hercules [is] engrossing and enlightening from start (a damning account of tourists annoying the apes of Gibraltar) to finish (an utterly captivating visit with Paul Bowles in Tangier, worth the price of the book all by itself)."
"ENTERTAINING READING . . . WHEN YOU READ THEROUX, YOU'RE TRULY ON A TRIP."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"HIS PICARESQUE NARRATIVE IS STUDDED WITH SCENES THAT STICK IN THE MIND. He looks at strangers with a novelist's eye, and his portraits are pleasantly tinged with malice."
--The Washington Post Book World
"THEROUX AT HIS BEST . . . An armchair trip with Theroux is sometimes dark, but always a delight."
"AS SATISFYING AS A GLASS OF COOL WINE ON A DUSTY CALABRIAN AFTERNOON . . . With his effortless writing style, observant eye, and take-no-prisoners approach, Theroux is in top form chronicling this 18-month circuit of the Mediterranean."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The acclaimed travel writer journeys by train across the Americas from Boston to Patagonia in this international bestselling travel memoir.
Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Paul Theroux takes a grand railway adventure first across the United States and then south through Mexico, Central America, and across the Andes until he winds up on the meandering Old Patagonian Express steam engine. His epic commute finally comes to a halt in a desolate land of cracked hills and thorn bushes that reaches toward Antarctica.Along the way, Theroux demonstrates how train travel can reveal “"the social miseries and scenic splendors” of a continent. And through his perceptive prose we learn that what matters most are the people he meets along the way, including the monologuing Mr. Thornberry in Costa Rica, the bogus priest of Cali, and the blind Jorge Luis Borges, who delights in having Theroux read Robert Louis Stevenson to him.
After eleven years as an American living in London, the renowned travel writer Paul Theroux set out to travel clockwise around the coast of Great Britain to find out what the British were really like. The result is this perceptive, hilarious record of the journey. Whether in Cornwall or Wales, Ulster or Scotland, the people he encountered along the way revealed far more of themselves than they perhaps intended to display to a stranger. Theroux captured their rich and varied conversational commentary with caustic wit and penetrating insight.
“A sharp and funny descriptive writer . . . Theroux is a good companion.” —The Times (London)