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, is a gripping work from an award-winning author.
Never a dull moment. . Vivid and deft.” —
Maude Pratt is a legend, a photographer famous for her cutting-edge techniques and uncanny ability to strip away the masks of the world’s most recognizable celebrities and luminaries. Now in her seventies, Maude has been in the public eye since the 1920s, and her unparalleled portfolio includes intimate portraits of Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and Picasso. While Maude possesses a singular capability to expose the inner lives of her subjects, she is obsessive about protecting her own, hiding her deepest secret in the “picture palace” of her memory. But when a young archivist comes to stay in Maude’s Cape Cod home and begins sorting through her fifty years of work, Maude is forced to face her past and come to terms, at last, with the tragedies she’s buried.
“A breathtaking tale. . Intangibly, intricately brilliant.” — (UK)
A dark and bitingly humorous collection of short stories from the “brilliantly evocative” () Paul Theroux
In this new collection of short stories, acclaimed author Paul Theroux explores the tenuous leadership of the elite and the surprising revenge of the overlooked. He shows us humanity possessed, consumed by its own desire and compulsion, always with his carefully honed eye for detail and the subtle idiosyncrasies that bring his characters to life. Searing, dark, and sure to unsettle, is a stunning new display of Paul Theroux’s “fluent, faintly sinister powers of vision and imagination” (John Updike, ).
Paul Theroux, one of the world’s most popular authors, both for his travel books and his fiction, has produced an off-beat story of 1960s weirdos unlike anything he has ever written.
During the time of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, Herbie Gneiss is forced to leave college to get a job. His income from the Kant-Brake toy factory, which manufactures military toys for children, keeps his chocolate-loving mother from starvation. Mr. Gibbon, a patriotic veteran of three wars, also works at Kant-Brake. When Herbie is drafted, Mr. Gibbon falls in love with Herbie’s mother and they move in together at Miss Ball’s rooming house. Since Herbie is fighting for his country, Mr. Gibbon feels that he, too, should do something for his country and convinces Miss Ball and Mrs. Gneiss to join him in the venture. They decide to rob the Mount Holly Trust Company because it is managed by a small dark man who is probably a communist. There are some complications. Combine Donald E. Westlake with Abby Hoffman, add a bit of Gore Vidal at his most vitriolic, and you will have
The author of the phenomenally selling Riding the Iron Rooster presents his own choice selection of his best travel writing. "There are those who think Theroux is the finest travel writer working in English. This collection can only enhance that reputation".-The New York Times Book Review.
In this wickedly satiric romp, Paul Theroux captures the essence of Hawaii as it has never been depicted. The novel's narrator, a down-on-his-luck writer, escapes to Waikiki and soon finds himself the manager of the Hotel Honolulu, a low-rent establishment a few blocks off the beach. Honeymooners, vacationers, wanderers, mythomaniacs, soldiers, and families all check in to the hotel. Like the Canterbury pilgrims, every guest has come in search of something — sun, love, happiness, objects of unnameable longing — and everyone has a story. By turns hilarious, ribald, tender, and tragic, HOTEL HONOLULU offers a unique glimpse of the psychological landscape of an American paradise.
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.
“A book to be plundered and raided.” —
“A portal into a world of timeless travel literature curated by one of the greatest travel writers of our day.” —
Paul Theroux celebrates fifty years of wandering the globe in this collection of the best writing from the books that have shaped him as a reader and a traveler. Part philosophical guide, part miscellany, part reminiscence, contains excerpts from the best of Theroux’s own work interspersed with selections from travelers both familiar and unexpected:
“Dazzling. . Like someone panning for gold, Theroux reread hundreds of travel classics and modern works, shaking out the nuggets.” —
"[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".
"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)
Following the success of the acclaimed and is an ode to the last African journey of the world's most celebrated travel writer.
“Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,” writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey through the continent he knows and loves best. Theroux first came to Africa as a twenty-two-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, and the pull of the vast land never left him. Now he returns, after fifty years on the road, to explore the little-traveled territory of western Africa and to take stock both of the place and of himself.
His odyssey takes him northward from Cape Town, through South Africa and Namibia, then on into Angola, wishing to head farther still until he reaches the end of the line. Journeying alone through the greenest continent, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savanna, Theroux crosses “the Red Line” into a different Africa: “the improvised, slapped-together Africa of tumbled fences and cooking fires, of mud and thatch,” of heat and poverty, and of roadblocks, mobs, and anarchy. After 2,500 arduous miles, he comes to the end of his journey in more ways than one, a decision he chronicles with typically unsparing honesty in a chapter called “What Am I Doing Here?”
Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers.
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.
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.
From the best-selling author of Dark Star Safari and Hotel Honolulu, Paul Theroux's latest offers provocative tales of memory and desire. The sensual story of an unusual love affair leads the collection. The thrill and risk of pursuit and conquest mark the accompanying stories, which tell of the sexual awakening and rites of passage of a Boston boyhood, the ruin of a writer in Africa, and the bewitchment of a retiree in Hawaii. Filled with Theroux's typically exquisite yet devastating descriptions of people and places, The Stranger at the Palazzo D'Oro evokes "the complexities of matters of the heart with subtlety and grace" (People).
Ellis Hock never believed that he would return to Africa. He runs an old-fashioned menswear store in a small town in Massachusetts but still dreams of his Eden, the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, cut short when he had to return to take over the family business. When his wife leaves him, and he is on his own, he realizes that there is one place for him to go: back to his village in Malawi, on the remote Lower River, where he can be happy again.
Arriving at the dusty village, he finds it transformed: 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 him — the White Man with no fear of snakes — and welcome him. But is his new life, his journey back, an escape or a trap?
Interweaving memory and desire, hope and despair, salvation and damnation, this is a hypnotic, compelling, and brilliant return to a terrain about which no one has ever written better than Theroux.
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". Murf the bomb-maker leaves his mark in red whilst his girlfriend Brodie bombs Euston.
A master of the travel narrative weaves three intertwined novellas of Westerners transformed by their sojourns in India.
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 young 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 urges us toward a fresh, compelling, and often inspiring notion of what India is, and what it can do to those who try to lose--or find--themselves there.
'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'.
Welcome to the America of the 21st century. The O-Zone is a forbidding land of nuclear waste, mutants & aliens. Except for one place that is a beautiful oasis amidst the destruction. When two aliens are shot that look suspiciously human, Hooper Allbright, disurbed by the memories of those he once loved, goes back down into the O-Zone to try to reach the people he lost, though they may be unreachable by now…
"Smart, witty, grotesque, & brutal."-The Philadelphia Inquirer
On the Tracks of 'The Great Railway Bazaar'.
An unmitigated treat for the hundreds of thousands of fans of the first .
In , Theroux recreates an epic journey he took thirty years ago, a giant loop by train (mostly) through Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia. In short, he traverses all of Asia top to bottom, and end to end. In the three decades since he first travelled this route, Asia has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed, China has risen, India booms, Burma slowly smothers, and Vietnam prospers despite the havoc unleashed upon it the last time Theroux passed through. He witnesses all this and more in a 25,000 mile journey, travelling as the locals do, by train, car, bus, and foot.
His odyssey takes him from Eastern Europe, still hungover from Communism, through tense but thriving Turkey, into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbour Azerbaijan revels in oil-driven capitalism. As he penetrates deeper into Asia’s heart, his encounters take on an otherworldly cast. The two chapters that follow show us Turkmenistan, a profoundly isolated society at the mercy of an almost comically egotistical dictator, and Uzbekistan, a ruthless authoritarian state. From there, he retraces his steps through India, Mayanmar, China, and Japan, providing his penetrating observations on the changes these countries have undergone.
Brilliant, caustic, and totally addictive, is Theroux at his very best.
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.
From the New York Times best-selling author Paul Theroux, Blinding Light is a slyly satirical novel of manners and mind expansion. Slade Steadman, a writer who has lost his chops, sets out for the Ecuadorian jungle with his ex-girlfriend in search of inspiration and a rare hallucinogen. The drug, once found, heightens both his powers of perception and his libido, but it also leaves him with an unfortunate side effect: periodic blindness. Unable to resist the insights that enable him to write again, Steadman spends the next year of his life in thrall to his psychedelic muse and his erotic fantasies, with consequences that are both ecstatic and disastrous.