Already a best-selling addition to the series, this year's Best American Travel Writing is a far-flung collection chosen by travel writer extraordinaire Paul Theroux, who has selected pieces about "the spell in the wilderness, the letter home from foreign parts, the dangerous adventure, the sentimental journey, the exposé, the shocking revelation, the eyewitness report, the ordeal, the quest . . . Travel is an attitude, a state of mind." Theroux's most recent novel is Hotel Honolulu.
"Travel connoisseurs divide the world into those places they've been dying to visit or revisit and places they'd never set foot in but are glad someone else did. This year's volume of travel writing . . . focuses mostly on the latter with derring-do dispatches." -- USA Today A far-ranging collection of the best travel writing pieces published in 2013, collected by guest editor Paul Theroux. The Best American Travel Writing consistently includes a wide variety of pieces, illuminating the wonder, humor, fear, and exhilaration that greets all of us when we embark on a journey to a new place. Readers know that there is simply no other option when they want great travel writing.
The Mundays return after almost a decade in Africa and settle in a dreary cottage in a small and not terribly friendly town where Mundy can work on his book. Munday, an anthropologist was studying a tribe called the Bwamba while in Africa. Soon after settling mysterious things begin to happen. Figures are seen peering in windows. A Bwamba spearpoint disappears at a public lecture. And Munday's wife begins to suffer from unexplained maladies.
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.
Thoreau's classic account of his meditative, beach-combing walking trips to Cape Cod in the early 1850s, reflecting on the elemental forces of the sea Cape Cod chronicles Henry David Thoreau's journey of discovery along this evocative stretch of Massachusetts coastline, during which time he came to understand the complex relationship between the sea and the shore. He spent his nights in lighthouses, in fishing huts, and on isolated farms. He passed his days wandering the beaches, where he observed the wide variety of life and death offered up by the ocean. Through these observations, Thoreau discovered that the only way to truly know the sea--its depth, its wildness, and the natural life it contained--was to study it from the shore. Like his most famous work, Walden, Cape Cod is full of Thoreau's unique perceptions and precise descriptions. But it is also full of his own joy and wonder at having stumbled across a new frontier so close to home, where a man may stand and "put all America behind him." Part of the Penguin Nature Library Series Editor: Edward Hoagland With an Introduction by Paul Theroux
"Riveting...CHICAGO LOOP is an icy tale brilliantly imagined." THE BOSTON GLOBE He knifes silently through the shadows of the steamy Chicago summer night, prowling for lonely souls who need his help. The desperate come to him, answering his ads with promises of romantic evenings and possibly a future, never suspecting that they are the prey, chosen to satiate a twisted sexual desire. Parker Jagoda is also a successful businessman with a wife, a child, and a house in the suburbs--respectable, health-conscious, and polite. Nobody knows about his jagged double life, his dark, hungry obsessions. He has fooled everyone except those who gasp their last dying scream. And, of course, he has not fooled himself--which may be the only glimmer of hope left inside the darkest of hearts....
"The Collected Stories" are a first, for Theroux's tales which are funny and sardonic, sensuous and evocative, streaked with terror and cruelty. All glow with Theroux's intelligence, elegance, and ironic wit; with his marvelous sense of place; and with his tragicomic vision. Theroux's canvas stretches from London to Southeast Asia, Boston to Paris, Africa to Eastern Europe, Moscow to the tropics. He portrays colonials, emigres, diplomats, students, would-be writers, academics, and children. Many are trapped in alien situations, or are overwhelmed by larger cultural tremors.
"The Consul's File" is an anthology of short stories about the life of an American Consul sent to Ayer Hitlam in Malaysia to close down the American Consulate there, in the 1970s. The stories are chronological picking up when the narrator arrives in country and ending with a letter he writes as he departs.
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.
When Jerry Delfont, an aimless travel writer with writer's block (his "dead hand"), receives a letter from an American philanthropist, Mrs. Merrill Unger, with news of a scandal involving an Indian friend of her son's, he is intrigued. Who is the dead boy, found on the floor of a cheap hotel room? How and why did he die? And what is Jerry to make of a patch of carpet, and a package containing a human hand?He is swiftly captivated by the beautiful, mysterious Mrs. Unger-and revived by her tantric massages-but the circumstances surrounding the dead boy cause him increasingly to doubt the woman's motives and the exact nature of her philanthropy. Without much to go on, Jerry pursues answers from the teeming streets of Calcutta to Uttar Pradesh. It is a dark and twisted trail of obsession and need.Beautifully written, A Dead Hand demonstrates the powerful evocation of place and character that has made Paul Theroux one of the most perceptive and engaging writers today.
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.
Twins who hated each other from childhood are separated for years. Then George appears on Gerald's doorstep, stays for a week and drops dead. Finding that his brother had been impersonating a society doctor, Gerald is drawn into a world of bogus medicine, discarded mistresses and lethal drugs.
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.
Ellis Hock siempre descartó la posibilidad de volver a África. Propietario de una tienda de ropa de caballero en un pueblo de Massachusetts, sigue soñando con su edén particular: los cuatro años que pasó en Malaui como voluntario de los Cuerpos de Paz. Cuando su mujer lo abandona, decide regresar a la aldea en la que vivió, en la remota región de Lower River, donde cree que puede recuperar la felicidad. Sin embargo, a su llegada la realidad va a resultar muy distinta a la esperada. Pronto descubrirá la mentira y la estafa, se adentrará en el corazón de las tinieblas y su idealizado retorno se convertirá en una carrera contra la muerte.
A former American consul joins the disparate members of a group of London terrorists in their murderous activities throughout the city.
One of the earlier novels from the author of "The Mosquito Coast" and "Doctor Slaughter", this is a comic-moral tale about an innocent Chinese store-keeper in East Africa. Although cheated and manipulated by those around him, Fong maintains his sorely-tried faith that "man is good".
Paul Theroux's first collection of essays and articles devoted entirely to travel writing, FRESH AIR FIEND touches down on five continents and floats through most seas in between to deliver a literary adventure of the first order, with the incomparable Paul Theroux as a guide. From the crisp quiet of a solitary week spent in the snowbound Maine woods to the expectant chaos of Hong Kong on the eve of the Hand-over, Theroux demonstrates how the traveling life and the writing life are intimately connected. His journeys in remote hinterlands and crowded foreign capitals provide the necessary perspective to "become a stranger" in order to discover the self. A companion volume to SUNRISE WITH SEAMONSTERS, 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.
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. InGhost 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.
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.
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.
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.
Malawi, the shambling, disturbed republic in Central Africa, is tottering between dictator and agitator. Calvin Mullet, a young man from Hudson, Massachusetts is divorced and paying alimony. Major Beaglehole, an insurance salesman, is a former convict after serving 6 years for killing his superior in cold blood. Despite this, his name is respected and honored by the locals. Here the ideals of these two men are tested.
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.
Ninety-nine years of colonial rule are ending as the British prepare to hand over Hong Kong to China. For Betty Mullard and her son, Bunt, it doesn't concern them - until the mysterious Mr. Hung from the mainland offers them a large sum for their family business. They refuse, yet fail to realize Mr. Hung is unlike the Chinese they've known: he will accept no refusals. When a young female employee whom Bunt has been dating vanishes, he is forced to make important decisions for the first time in his life - but his good intentions are pitted against the will of Mr. Hung and the threat of the ultimate betrayal.
"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 GlobeA 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