“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: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2015-09-03
SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER Acclaimed and beloved travel writer Paul Theroux turns his attention to his own country - America - for the first time in Deep South For the past fifty years, Paul Theroux has travelled to the far corners of the earth - to China, India, Africa, the Pacific Islands, South America, Russia, and elsewhere - and brought them to life in his cool, exacting prose. In Deep South he turns his gaze to a region much closer to his home. Travelling through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, Paul Theroux writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers - the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi - and above all, the lives of the people he meets. The South is a place of contradictions. There is the warm, open spirit of the soul food cafes, found in every town, no matter how small. There is the ruined grandeur of numberless ghostly towns, long abandoned by the industries that built them. There are the state gun shows, populated by a close-knit and subtly forlorn tribe of peoples. In the depths of his native country, Theroux discovers a land more profoundly foreign than anything he has previously experienced.
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.
Idealizing the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, Ellis Hock is abruptly divorced by his wife and decides to return to Africa only to find the region devastatingly transformed by poverty and apathy. 35,000 first printing.
Author: Mary Ward Brown
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Release Date: 1993-08-30
These beautifully crafted stories depict the changing relationships between black and white southerners, the impact of the civil rights movement, and the emergence of the New South. Mary Ward Brown is a storyteller in the tradition of such powerful 20th-century writers as William Faulkner, Harper Lee, Flannery O'Connor, and Eudora Welty-writers who have explored and dramatized the tension between the inherited social structure of the South and its contemporary dissolution. With Tongues of Flame, her first collection of short stories, Brown bares the awkward, sometimes hopeful, and often tragic suffering of people caught in changing times within a timeless setting. Here we meet such memorable characters as a dying black woman who seeks the advice of a now-alcoholic white doctor whom she knew in better years; a young woman, jilted at the altar, driven crazy by an illuminated cross erected by the church opposite her house; and a 95-year-old woman buying a tombstone for her long-deceased husband only to discover that he had been adulterous throughout their marriage. Brown constructs her characters in a disarmingly plain style while breathing life into them with compassion and honesty as they confront the large moments of their lives. First published by E. P. Dutton in 1986 to immediate critical acclaim, Tongues of Flame won the 1987 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award. The judges commended Brown for "seeing life whole, without prejudice, without sentimentality, without histrionics. Her voice may be quiet-sometimes she speaks in a whisper-but her words are, nevertheless, always forceful, clear, and ultimately lasting." With this new publication of Tongues of Flame and its inclusion in the University of Alabama Press's Deep South Books series, a whole new generation of readers may once more discover Mary Ward Brown's profound stories of pain, loss, and hope.
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.
This startling, far-reaching book captures the tumult, ambition, hardship, and serenity that mark today’s India. Theroux’s Westerners risk venturing far beyond the subcontinent’s well-worn paths to discover woe or truth or peace. A middle-aged couple on vacation veers heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds succor in Mumbai’s reeking slums. And a young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore. We also meet Indian characters as singular as they are reflective of the country’s subtle ironies: an executive who yearns to become a holy beggar, an earnest striver whose personality is rewired by acquiring an American accent, a miracle-working guru, and others. As ever, Theroux’s portraits of people and places explode stereotypes to exhilarating effect. The Elephanta Suite is a welcome gift to readers of international fiction and fans of this extraordinary writer.
Author: Larry McMurtry
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2010-06-01
Genre: Social Science
As he crisscrosses America -- driving in search of the present, the past, and himself -- Larry McMurtry shares his fascination with this nation's great trails and the culture that has developed around them. Ever since he was a boy growing up in Texas only a mile from Highway 281, Larry McMurtry has felt the pull of the road. His town was thoroughly landlocked, making the highway his "river, its hidden reaches a mystery and an enticement. I began my life beside it and I want to drift down the entire length of it before I end this book." In Roads, McMurtry embarks on a cross-country trip where his route is also his destination. As he drives, McMurtry reminisces about the places he's seen, the people he's met, and the books he's read, including more than 3,000 books about travel. He explains why watching episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show might be the best way to find joie de vivre in Minnesota; the scenic differences between Route 35 and I-801; which vigilantes lived in Montana and which hailed from Idaho; and the history of Lewis and Clark, Sitting Bull, and Custer that still haunts Route 2 today. As it makes its way from South Florida to North Dakota, from eastern Long Island to Oregon, Roads is travel writing at its best.
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
"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
Author: Paul Theroux
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2011-10-27
Genre: Social Science
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 author revisits the past as he journeys through Eastern Europe, Central Asia, India, China, Japan, and Siberia on an adventure that reveals the dramatic changes that have occurred since the writing of his original travelogue.
“Theroux possesses a fabulously nasty sense of humor.” — Stephen King, New York Times Book Review 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 a selfish, petty tyrant. 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 one hundred, 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 his tale are unique, Paul Theroux encapsulates with acute clarity and wisdom a circumstance that is familiar to millions of readers. “Paul Theroux ladles a steaming cup of dysfunctional-family chowder in Mother Land.” — Vanity Fair “An engrossing, emotionally tangled and often merciless examination of family and self . . . Mother Land is a bittersweet, brutally frank family saga that offers enough redemption to make the journey worth it.” — Shelf Awareness
"DAZZLING." --Time "[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)." --Chicago Tribune "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." --Playboy "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)