« J'étudiais la carte quand il m'apparut qu'il existait une ligne de chemin de fer qui allait de ma maison dans le Massachusetts jusqu'au grand plateau de la Patagonie. » Alors Paul Theroux, un beau matin d'hiver, est parti. En métro, à quelques blocs de sa maison de Medford pour se rendre à la gare de Boston, puis en train jusqu'à la mythique Patagonie, des pentes de Fitzwilliams, battues par le blizzard, aux vents secs et chauds de la Pampa, des wagons de luxe fastueux aux tortilllards pitoyables. Transpirant et grelottant au gré d'altitudes et de températures capricieuses, devant supporter l'épouvantable M. Thorneberry au Costa Rica et passant des nuits à faire la lecture à l'écrivain aveugle Jorge Borges à Buenos Aires, rencontrant au hasard d'une halte la copie conforme d'un personnage fictif d'un de ses précédents romans... Paul Theroux, inventeur d'une forme originale en littérature qui marie le voyage et l'aventure, le récit et le drame, embarque le lecteur dans un étourdissant voyage, celui qui mène « au bout de la ligne ».
Depuis longtemps, Paul Theroux appartient à la tribu singulière des écrivains-voyageurs qui compte déjà Stevenson, Conrad ou Valery Larbaud. Ainsi, dès qu'il voit une gare, dès qu'il croise un train, dès qu'une paire de rails scintille à l'horizon, son imagination s'ébranle, sa rêverie l'emporte... Il saute dans un wagon, stylo en bandoulière, il s'en va - heureux d'appartenir au vaste monde et au regard des gens dont il partagera la vie, le temps d'un voyage. Avec ce nouveau livre, c'est vers l'Orient extrême qu'il conduit son lecteur : d'Istambul à Dehli, de Saigon à Kuala Lumpur - avant de regagner Londres en passant par Moscou... Avec Theroux, la grande tradition anglo-saxonne de l'aventure reprend ses droits, et elle est ici portée à l'incandescence par une langue débordant d'humour et de perspicacité. Périple rythmé par les bogies, par l'imprévu, par le bizarre... On goûtera avec lui le charme des tortillards turcs, l'angoisse des wagons aseptisés du Soleil-Levant, la froideur des couchettes hiérarchique en Union soviétique. C'est dire que tout, dans ce livre, révèle l'essentiel des peuples et de leurs mémoires.
The master of contemporary travel writing, Paul Theroux, immerses himself in the beautiful and troubled heart of modern Mexico Nogales is a border town caught between Mexico and the United States of America. A forty-foot steel fence runs through its centre, separating the prosperous US side from the impoverished Mexican side. It is a fascinating site of tension, now more than ever, as the town fills with hopeful border crossers and the deportees who have been caught and brought back. And it is here that Paul Theroux will begin his journey into the culturally rich but troubled heart of modern Mexico. Moving through the deserts just south of the Arizona border, Theroux finds a place brimming with charm, yet visibly marked by both the US border patrol looming to the north and mounting discord from within. Attending local language and culinary schools, driving through the country and meeting its people, Paul Theroux gets under the skin of Mexico. 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 urgent and mesmerising exploration of a region in conflict. Praise for Paul Theroux: 'As cool as Maugham... as observant, intuitive, wry, inventive and eloquent as Graham Greene' Sunday Times 'Theroux's work remains the standard by which other travel writing must be judged' Observer 'The world's most perceptive travel writer' Daily Mail 'One of the most accomplished and worldly-wise writers of his generation' The Times
The Mosquito Coast - winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize - is a breathtaking novel about fanaticism and a futile search for utopia from bestseller Paul Theroux. Published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Allie Fox is going to re-create the world. Abominating the cops, crooks, junkies and scavengers of modern America, he abandons civilisation and takes the family to live in the Honduran jungle. There his tortured, messianic genius keeps them alive, his hoarse tirades harrying them through a diseased and dirty Eden towards unimaginable darkness. 'Stunning. . . exciting, intelligent, meticulously realised, artful' Victoria Glendinning, Sunday Times 'An epic of paranoid obsession that swirls the reader headlong to deposit him on a black mudbank of horror' Christopher Wordsworth, Guardian 'Magnificently stimulating and exciting' Anthony Burgess
A rich feast of travel writing, literary essays and fascinating interviews from Sunday Times bestselling travel author Paul Theroux 'Wonderful... Evidence of both the breadth of Theroux's interests and his skill in bringing them to life' Sunday Times Culture Drawing together a fascinating body of writing from over 14 years of work, Figures in a Landscape ranges from profiles of cultural icons (Oliver Sacks, Elizabeth Taylor, Robin Williams) to intimate personal remembrances; from thrilling adventures in Africa to literary writings from Theroux's rich and expansive personal reading. Collectively these pieces offer a fascinating portrait of the author himself, his extraordinary life, restless and ever-curious mind. ' Theroux's work remains the standard by which other travel writing must be judged' Observer 'The world's most perceptive travel writer' Daily Mail
Thirty years ago the author left London and travelled across Asia and back again by train. Now he 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. This book presents a chronicle of his travels.
Gives an account of the author's journey by rail through Asia. This work describes the many places, cultures, sights and sounds he experienced and the fascinating people he met. It also shows how he is drawn into conversation with fellow passengers, from Molesworth, while avoiding the forceful approaches of pimps and drug dealers.
Tells of the author's journey down the length of North and South America. Beginning on Boston's subway, this work 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.
Presents the author's journey from Cairo to Cape Town. This book describes 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.
'Downright hilarious... Like watching a slow-motion car crash. Theroux possesses a fabulously nasty sense of humour' Stephen King A riotously dysfunctional portrait of one all-American family and its diabolical matriarch - by one of America's most acclaimed writers Everyone in Cape Cod thinks that Mother is a wonderful woman: pious, hard-working, frugal. Everyone except her husband and seven children. To them she is a selfish and petty tyrant -- endlessly comparing her many living children to the one who died in childbirth, keeping a vice-like hold on her offspring even as they try to escape into adulthood. Welcome to Mother Land: a suffocating kingdom of parental narcissism. This is an engrossing, hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of a modern family -- the bickering, the conspiracies, and the drive to overcome the painful ties that bind. 'Brilliantly depicts characters in pinpoint prickly prose' Guardian 'Funny and wonderfully mean spirited' Saturday Review 'The family dynamic has been rendered exceptionally well' Herald
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.
The journeys of Paul Theroux take place not only in exotic, unexpected places of the world but in the thoughts, reading, and emotions of the writer himself. A gathering of people, places, and ideas in fifty glittering pieces of gold.
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.
Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux winds up on the poky, wandering Old Patagonian Express steam engine, which comes to a halt in a desolate land of cracked hills and thorn bushes. But with Theroux the view along the way is what matters: 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.
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 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.
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 POSTAuthor 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.
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 he passed through. In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Theroux re-creates that earlier journey. His 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, 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).Wherever he goes, his omnivorous curiosity and unerring eye for detail never fail to inspire, enlighten, inform, and entertain.
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.