After eleven years living as an American in London, Paul Theroux set out to travel clockwise round the coast and find out what Britain and the British are really like. It was 1982, the summer of the Falklands War and the royal baby, and the ideal time, he found, to surprise the British into talking about themselves. The result is vivid and absolutely riveting reading.'A sharp and funny descriptive writer. One of his golden talents, perhaps because he is American and therefore classless in British eyes, is the ability to chat up and get on with all sorts ...' The Times.
The Old Patagonian Express tells of Paul Theroux's train journey down the length of North and South America. Beginning on Boston's subway, he depicts a voyage from ice-bound Massachusetts to the arid plateau of Argentina's most southerly tip, via pretty Central American towns and the ancient Incan city of Macchu Pichu. Shivering and sweating by turns as the temperature and altitude rise and plummet, he describes the people he encountered - thrown in with the tedious, and unavoidable, Mr Thornberry in Limon and reading to the legendary blind writer, Jorge Luis Borges, in Buenos Aires. Witty, sharply observed and beautifully written, this is a richly evocative account of travelling to 'the end of the line'.
Dark Star Safari is Paul Theroux's now classic account of a journey from Cairo to Cape Town.
Travelling across bush and desert, down rivers and across lakes, and through country after country, Theroux visits some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth, and some of the most dangerous. It is a journey of discovery and of rediscovery -- of the unknown and the unexpected, but also of people and places he knew as a young and optimistic teacher forty years before.Safari in Swahili simply means "journey", and this is the ultimate safari. It is Theroux in his element -- a trip where chance encounter is everything, where departure and arrival times are an irrelevance, and where contentment can be found balancing on the top of a truck in the middle of nowhere.Praise for Paul Theroux:'Theroux's work remains the standard by which other travel writing must be judged' Observer'One needs energy to keep up with the extraordinary, productive restlessness of Paul Theroux ... [He is] the most gifted, most prodigal writer of his generation'Jonathan Raban'Always a terrific teller of tales and conjurer of exotic locales, he writes lean prose that lopes along at a compelling pace'Sunday TimesPaul Theroux's books include Dark Star Safari, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Elephanta Suite, A Dead Hand, The Tao of Travel and The Lower River. The Mosquito Coast and Dr Slaughter have both been made into successful films. Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.
This fabulous, far-reaching book breathtakingly captures the tumult, ambition, hardship and serenity that mark modern India. Theroux's characters risk venturing far beyond its well-worn paths to discover woe or truth or peace. A holidaying middle-aged couple veer heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds relief in Mumbai's reeking slums. A young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore. We also meet Indian characters as distinctive as they are indicative of their country's subtle ironies: an executive who yearns to become a holy beggar, an earnest young striver whose personality is transformed by acquiring an American accent, a miracle-working guru, and more. The Elephanta Suite urges us towards a fresh, compelling, and often inspiring notion of India and its effect on those who try to lose -' or find -' themselves there.
Sunrise with Sea Monsters is Paul Theroux's immensely entertaining collection of his shorter writings, ranging from sketches to critical essays. Each piece marks a new 'confrontation with the world' and throws new light on the political and social climate of diverse cultures such as those of New York, Singapore, Ireland and Malawi. Others give a lively portrayal of the people Theroux has met or books and landscapes which have inspired him.Above all, this is a fascinating perspective on two decades of travelling, writing and living away from home.
The Great Railway Bazaar is Paul Theroux's classic and much-loved homage to train travel.
The Orient Express; The Khyber Pass Local; the Delhi Mail from Jaipur; the Golden Arrow of Kuala; the Trans-Siberian Express; these are just some of the trains steaming through Paul Theroux's epic rail journey from London across Europe through India and Asia. This was a trip of discovery made in the mid-seventies, a time before the West had embraced the places, peoples, food, faiths and cultures of the East. For us now, as much as for Theroux then, to visit the lands of The Great Railway Bazaar is an encounter with all that is truly foreign and exotic - and with what we have since lost.Praise for Paul Theroux:'Theroux's work remains the standard by which other travel writing must be judged' Observer'One needs energy to keep up with the extraordinary, productive restlessness of Paul Theroux ... [He is] the most gifted, most prodigal writer of his generation'Jonathan Raban'Always a terrific teller of tales and conjurer of exotic locales, he writes lean prose that lopes along at a compelling pace'Sunday TimesPaul Theroux's books include Dark Star Safari, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Elephanta Suite, A Dead Hand, The Tao of Travel and The Lower River. The Mosquito Coast and Dr Slaughter have both been made into successful films. Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.
Spencer Savage, a young American consul, is posted to Ayer Hitam, a small Malaysian town, in the 1970s. Told to close down this remote outpost in the sweltering jungle, he instead finds himself drawn to the many characters he meets among the Malays, Indians, Japanese, Chinese, and the clubbable expat Brits.Through his eyes we see the rich tapestry of multi-ethnic life in post-colonial Malaysia, from adultery to murder, from ghost stories to the murky waters of diplomatic politics.It is a brilliant portrait of a vanished time, a lost landscape and scattered peoples.
Paul Theroux left Victoria Station on a rainy Saturday in April thinking that taking eight trains across Europe, Eastern Europe, the USSR and Mongolia would be the easy way to get to the Chinese border - the relaxing way, even. He would read a little, take notes, eat regular meals and gaze contentedly out of windows. The reality, of course, was very different.In fact, Theroux experienced a decidedly odd and unexpected trip to China that set the challenging tone for his epic year-long rail journey around that vast, inscrutable land - a journey which involved riding nearly every train in the country. 'Wry, humorful and occasionally querulous ... as Theroux makes excruciatingly clear, travelling alone in the Middle Kingdom is not for the faint of heart or stomach' Time.
"Travel writing at its best."
THE HOUSTON POST
Author and travel writer Paul Theroux does what no one else can: he travels to the isolated, unusual, and fascinating spots of the world, and creates an elegy to them that makes readers feel they are traveling with him. Evocative, breathtaking, intriguing, here is the armchair traveler's guide to the sites of the world he makes us feel we know.
From the Paperback edition.
Paul Theroux, 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. He hops aboard 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 the barren deserts of Xinjiang to the ice forests of Manchuria, from the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton to the dry hills of Tibet, Theroux offers an unforgettable portrait of a magnificent land and an extraordinary people.
In a breathtaking adventure story, the paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they've left. Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life. But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions lead the family toward unimaginable danger. This book features a teaser chapter from Theroux's dazzling The Lower River.
Nothing on the shelf has quite prepared the reader for My Secret History . . . Parent saunters into the book aged fifteen, shouldering a .22 Mossberg rifle as earlier, more innocent American heroes used to tote a fishing pole. In his pocket is a paperback translation of Dante's Inferno . . . He is a creature of naked and unquenchable ego, greedy for sex, money, experience, another life' Jonathan Raban, Observer
First published more than thirty years ago, Paul Theroux's strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here Theroux recounts his early adventures on an unusual grand continental 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 him 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.
Fourteen-year-old Jilly Farina walks into the tent at the County Fair and finds her life transformed. Fixing her with his hypnotic gaze, Millroy the Magician performs astonishing miracles. When she is later magicked into his trailer and Millroy promises to train her as his assistant, Jilly feels safe for the first time in her short life.But Millroy is more than a mere stage show magician. A vegetarian and health fanatic, a possessor of healing and hypnotic powers, Millroy's mission is to change the eating habits of an entire nation. And through Jilly he has found the strength to preach his evangelical message.With Millroy's messianic fervour ever growing, Jilly begins to have doubts - but Millroy knows that without Jilly there will be no magic . . .
This heartfelt and revealing account of Paul Theroux's thirty-year friendship with the legendary V. S. Naipaul is an intimate record of a literary mentorship that traces the growth of both writers' careers and explores the unique effect each had on the other. Built around exotic landscapes, anecdotes that are revealing, humorous, and melancholy, and three decades of mutual history, this is a personal account of how one develops as a writer and how a friendship waxes and wanes between two men who have set themselves on the perilous journey of a writing life.
In this remarkable collection of essays and articles written over the last fifteen years, Paul Theroux demonstrates how the traveling life and the writing life are intimately connected. Not simply an escape from the mundane, travel has always been a creative act for Theroux. His journeys in remote hinterlands and crowded foreign capitals provide the necessary perspective to "become a stranger" in order to discover the self.
Wonderfully broad in scope, thought, and feeling, Fresh Air Fiend touches down on all five continents and floats through most of the seas in between. From the crisp quiet of a solitary week spent in the snow-bound Maine woods, to the expectant chaos of Hong Kong on the eve of the Hand-over, to a small Pacific island where atomic bombs were detonated, Theroux is the perfect guide -- casually informative, keenly observant, wry, and entertaining. As Time has written, Theroux "serves as both the camera and the eye, and both the details and the illusions are developed with brilliance." He also reaches back into his past to tell of his earliest ventures into Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, treats us to insightful readings of his favorite travel books, and reveals the fascinating stories behind some of his own.
Fresh Air Fiend is a companion volume to Theroux's earlier, much beloved Sunrise with Seamonsters, but this is his first collection devoted completely to travel writing, for which the author of such classics as The Great Railway Bazaar and Riding the Iron Rooster is justly famous.
Traveling with Theroux is a literary adventure of the first order, never a languid luxury cruise, always an insightful journey to the heart and soul of a place and its people. Fresh Air Fiend is the ultimate good read for anyone fascinated by travel in the wider world or curious about the life of one of our most passionate travelers.
Jack Flowers knew he needed to shake things up when he jumped into the Straits of Malacca and hitched a ride to Singapore. Deftly identifying the fastest route to fame along the seedy port, Jack starts hiring girls out to lonely tourists, sailors, bachelors -- anyone with some loose change and a wandering eye -- soon making enough money to open two pleasure palaces. But just as Jack is finally coming into his own, a shocking tumble toward the brink of death leaves him shaken, desperate to pull himself up to greatness. Depressed and vulnerable, he's quick to do business with Edwin Shuck, a powerful American working to take down an unsuspecting general. Marked with Paul Theroux's trademark biting humor and audacious prose, Saint Jack is a gripping work from an award-winning author.
In the Washington Post Book World, Sven Birkerts called this exuberant novel "a complex and gripping work of invention and confession . . . I understood again how the prose of a true writer can bring us to a world beyond." The book spans almost thirty years in the life of a fictional "Paul Theroux," who moves through young bachelorhood in Africa, in and out of marriage, affairs, and employment, and between continents. It's a wry, worldly, erotic, and deeply moving account of one man's first half century - "among the strongest things Theroux has ever written" (New York Times Book Review).
Award-winning writer Paul Theroux draws upon personal experience of living in Malawi in his eye-opening novel, about one man's return to an Africa he no longer recognises, The Lower River. Decades ago Massachusetts salesman Ellis Hock spent four years in Africa - and the continent has never left him. So when his wife walks out and his business goes belly up, Ellis turns back to the one place in which he briefly found happiness.Yet returning to the village of Malabo shocks him. The school he built is a ruin. The people he remembers are poor, apathetic, hostile. The country labours as if under a great, invisible burden. However, Ellis is determined. This is his escape, a paradise regained.But escape can be a snare, a trap for the unwary . . .The Lower River is a hypnotic, compelling and brilliant return to a terrain no one has ever written better about than Paul Theroux: the tragic stage of modern Africa, AIDS-ravaged and despairing in the face of creeping consumerism, greed and dependence.
'Remarkable, admirable, riveting, heartbreaking. A masterly, moving portrait of how Africa ensnares and enchants' Guardian'Terrific writing. Theroux's senses are always on full alert' Evening Standard
'Powerful, vivid, shocking' The Times
'Theroux invests this very 21st-century journey into the heart of ennui with a caustic bite, like the snakes that pop up throughout' Metro
'The sense of menace is masterful. Theroux has never written a better novel' Sunday Telegraph
American travel writer Paul Theroux is known for the rich descriptions of people and places that is often streaked with his distinctive sense of irony; his novels and collected short stories, My Other Life, The Collected Stories, My Secret History, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro, A Dead Hand, Millroy the Magician, The Elephanta Suite, Saint Jack, The Consul's File, The Family Arsenal, The Mosquito Coast, and his works of non-fiction, including the iconic The Great Railway Bazaar are available from Penguin.
Thirty years after the epic journey chronicled in his classic work The Great Railway Bazaar, the world's most acclaimed travel writer re-creates his 25,000-mile journey through eastern Europe, central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia.Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by train through Asia. In the three decades since, the world he recorded in that book 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. And no one is better able to capture the texture, sights, smells, and sounds of that changing landscape than Theroux.Theroux's odyssey takes him from eastern Europe, still hung-over from communism, through tense but thriving Turkey into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbor Azerbaijan revels in oil-fueled capitalism. Theroux is firsthand witness to it all, traveling as the locals do--by stifling train, rattletrap bus, illicit taxi, and mud-caked foot--encountering adventures only he could have: from the literary (sparring with the incisive Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk) to the dissolute (surviving a week-long bender on the Trans-Siberian Railroad). And wherever he goes, his omnivorous curiosity and unerring eye for detail never fail to inspire, enlighten, inform, and entertain.PAUL THEROUX was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1941 and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. His fiction includes The Mosquito Coast, My Secret History, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, Blinding Light, and most recently, The Elephanta Suite. His highly acclaimed travel books include Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, Fresh Air Fiend, and Dark Star Safari. He has been the guest editor of The Best American Travel Writing and is a frequent contributor to various magazines, including The New Yorker. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.
In one of his most exotic and breathtaking journeys, the intrepid traveler Paul Theroux ventures to 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. This exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure.
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.
Hood, a renegade American diplomat, envisions a new urban order through the opium fog of his room. His sometimes bedmate, Mayo, has stolen a Flemish painting and is negotiating for publicity with The Times. Meanwhile, Murf the bomb-maker leaves his mark in red whilst his girlfriend Brodie bombs Euston . . .Set in the grimy decay of south-east London, The Family Arsenal is a chilling novel of violence in the tradition of Brighton Rock.