“Theroux’s eye for landscape remains as sharp as ever . . . It’s Theroux’s remarkable gift for getting strangers to reveal themselves that makes going along for this ride worthwhile.” — New York Times Book Review Paul Theroux has spent the past fifty years roaming the globe, describing his encounters with remote people and far-flung places in ten best-selling travel books. Now, for the first time, he explores a part of America—the Deep South. Setting out on a winding road trip, Theroux discovers a region of 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. Yet, no matter where he goes, Theroux meets the unsung heroes of the South, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who found their way home and devoted their lives to rebuilding a place they could never live without. “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 “A vivid contemporary portrait of rural life . . . a deeply affecting personal account.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
One of the most acclaimed travel writers of our time turns his unflinching eye on an American South too often overlooked Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America -- the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation's worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates. It's these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux's keen traveler's eye. On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road "the plantation." He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families -- the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without. From the writer whose "great mission has always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself -- and thus, to challenge us" (Boston Globe), Deep South is an ode to a region, vivid and haunting, full of life and loss alike.
Author: Paul Theroux
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Release Date: 2016-03-03
On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Paul Theroux travels to America's Deep South to uncover the truth behind the myths, the fictions and the lies. He visits gun shows and small-town churches, labourers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road 'the plantation'. He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families: the unsung heroes of the South, from those who never left to those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without. 'Wonderful writing. This is his best work of non-fiction. If acted upon, it may prove to be his most important.' Sunday Herald 'Engrossing. Reminds us that despite poverty everyone has a story to tell and it's the writer's job to bear such testimony.' Financial Times 'The preeminent American travel writer of the last half-century. Deep Southworks because Theroux is a master of his craft, but also because he has just the right amount of road-weary wisdom to counter centuries of mythmaking. He does all this with clarity and charm.' Washington Post 'Casts an ever-sharp eye over life, history, community and hospitality below the Mason-Dixon line.' Wanderlust
“[Hock] knows he is ensorcelled by exoticism, but he can’t help himself. And, as things go from bad to worse and the pages start to turn faster, neither can we. A.”—Entertainment Weekly When he was a young man, Ellis Hock spent four of the best years of his life with the Peace Corps in Malawi. So when his wife of forty-two years leaves him, he decides to return to the village where he was stationed in search of the happiness he’d been missing since he left. But what he finds is not what he expected. The school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people. They remember Ellis and welcome him with open arms. Soon, however, their overtures turn menacing; they demand money and refuse to let him leave the village. Is his new life an escape or a trap? “Theroux’s bravely unsentimental novel about a region where he began his own grand career should become part of anybody’s education in the continent.”—Washington Post “The Lower River is riveting in its storytelling and provocative in its depiction of this African backwater, infusing both with undertones of slavery and cannibalism, savagery and disease.”—New York Times Book Review
In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances. 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.
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.
"Theroux is at his best when he tells [people’s] stories, happy and sad . . . Theroux’s great mission had always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself—and thus, to challenge us." — Boston Globe A decade ago, 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, he 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. "Everything is under scrutiny in Paul Theroux’s latest travel book—not just the people, landscapes and sociopolitical realities of the countries he visits, but his own motivations for going where he goes . . . His readers can only be grateful." — Seattle Times “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, 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.
Author: Allison Davis
Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Press
Release Date: 2009
First published in 1941, Deep South is the cooperative effort of a team of social anthropologists to document the economic, racial, and cultural character of the Jim Crow South through a study of a representative rural Mississippi community. Researchers Allison Davis, Burleigh B. Gardner, and Mary R. Gardner lived among the people of Natchez, Mississippi, as they investigated how class and caste informed daily life in a typical southern community. This Southern Classics edition of their study offers contemporary students of history a provocative collection of primary material gathered by conscientious and well-trained participant-observers, who found thenas nowintertwined social and economic inequalities at the root of racial tensions. Expanding on earlier studies of community stratification by social class, researchers in the Deep South Project introduced the additional concept of caste, which parsed a community through rigid social ranks assigned at birth and unalterable through lifea concept readily identifiable in the racial divisions of the Jim Crow South. As African American researchers, Davis and his wife, Elizabeth, along with his assistant St. Clair Drake, were able to gain unrivaled access to the black community in rural Mississippi, unavailable to their white counterparts. Through their interviews and experiences, the authors vividly capture the nuances in caste-enforcing systems of tenant-landlord relations, local government, and law enforcement. But the chief achievement of Deep South is its rich analysis of how the southern economic system, and sharecropping in particular, functioned to maintain rigid caste divisions along racial lines. In the new introduction tothis edition, Jennifer Jensen Walla
A richly detailed, darkly hilarious novel of a family held together and torn apart by its narcissistic matriarch To those in her Cape Cod town, Mother is an exemplar of piety, frugality, and hard work. To her husband and seven children, she is the selfish, petty tyrant of Mother Land. She excels at playing her offspring against each other. Her favorite, Angela, died in childbirth; only Angela really understands her, she tells the others. The others include the officious lawyer, Fred; the uproarious professor, Floyd; a pair of inseparable sisters whose devotion to Mother has consumed their lives; and JP, the narrator, a successful writer whose work she disparages. As she lives well past the age of 100, her brood struggles with and among themselves to shed her viselike hold on them. Mother Land is a piercing portrait of how a parent’s narcissism impacts a family. While the particulars of this tale are unique, Theroux encapsulates with acute clarity and wisdom a circumstance that is familiar to legions of readers. And beyond offering the shock and comfort of recognition, Mother Land presents for everyone an engrossing, heartbreaking, and often funny saga of a vast family that bickers, colludes, connives, and ultimately overcomes the painful ties that bind them.
Author: Paul Theroux
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2011-11-24
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.
Author: Paul Theroux
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2012-03-29
Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a journey from London to Asia by train. Thirty years ago Paul Theroux left London and travelled across Asia and back again by train. His account of the journey - The Great Railway Bazaar - was a landmark book and made his name as the foremost travel writer of his generation. Now Theroux makes the trip all over again. Through Eastern Europe, India and Asia to discover the changes that have swept the continents, and also to learn what an old man will make of a young man's journey. Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a brilliant chronicle of change and an exploration of how travel is 'the saddest of pleasures'. 'A dazzler, giving us the highs and lows of his journey and tenderness and acerbic humour . . . fellow-travelling weirdoes, amateur taxi drivers, bar-girls and long-suffering locals are brought vividly to life' Spectator 'Fans of Theroux are not likely to be disappointed. Theroux has great descriptive skill . . . the world is slightly less unknown by virtue of reading the book' Sunday Telegraph 'Relaxed, curious, confident, surprisingly tender. Theroux's writing has an immediate, vivid and cursory quality that gives it a collective strength' Sunday Times 'A brilliant eye, readable and vivid. Theroux has still got it' Observer 'Fascinating, a joy to read' Tatler Paul 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 “interesting, insightful book” by the author of Deep South reveals “a side of Britain few visitors see” (The New York Times Book Review). 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)
Paul Theroux celebrates fifty years of wandering the globe by collecting the best writing on travel from the books that shaped him, as a reader and a traveler. Part philosophical guide, part miscellany, part reminiscence, The Tao of Travel enumerates “The Contents of Some Travelers’ Bags” and exposes “Writers Who Wrote about Places They Never Visited”; tracks extreme journeys in “Travel as an Ordeal” and highlights some of “Travelers’ Favorite Places.” Excerpts from the best of Theroux’s own work are interspersed with selections from travelers both familiar and unexpected: Vladimir Nabokov J.R.R. Tolkien Samuel Johnson Eudora Welty Evelyn Waugh Isak Dinesen Charles Dickens James Baldwin Henry David Thoreau Pico Iyer Mark Twain Anton Chekhov Bruce Chatwin John McPhee Freya Stark Peter Matthiessen Graham Greene Ernest Hemingway The Tao of Travel is a unique tribute to the pleasures and pains of travel in its golden age.
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.