The Sunday Times bestseller Paul Theroux collects a rich feast of his writing and essays - from travel to personal memoir - published all together here for the first time
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.
A darkly hilarious portrait of one dysfunctional American family and its scheming matriarch
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.
SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
Beloved travel writer Paul Theroux turns his attention to America, exploring the landscapes and communities of his homeland as an outsider for the first time
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 and the close-knit,subtly forlorn tribe of people who attend and run them. Deep in the heart of his native country, Theroux discovers a land more profoundly foreign than anything he has previously experienced.
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
Mr Bones is a sparkling and darkly humorous collection of short stories by bestselling novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux.
A family watches, horrified, as their patriarch transforms into the wise-cracking lead of an old-timey minstrel show. An art collector gleefully destroys his most valuable pieces. A young artist devotes himself to a wealthy, malicious gossip, knowing that it's just a matter of time before she turns on him.
In this new collection of short stories, 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 desires, always with his carefully honed eye and the subtle idiosyncrasies that bring his characters to life.
'As cool as Somerset Maugham . . . as observant, intuitive, wry, inventive and eloquent as Graham Greene' Sunday Times
'Theroux is fluent, witty and almost faultlessly able to deliver a satisfying story' Melvyn Bragg
'One of the most accomplished and worldly-wise writers of his generation' The Times
Paul Theroux's books include The Last Train to Zona Verde, 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 Traveland 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.
The Last Train to Zona Verde is Paul Theroux's compelling account of his final African journey.
Heading north from Cape Town, through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Angola, Paul Theroux makes a final journey along Africa's western edge. The end of the line is the Congo but Theroux discovers that his trip's pleasures are tempered by a growing sense that the Africa which so long ago helped form him has vanished, along with the hopes of many of its people. Yet after 2,500 miles Theroux finds that though this will be his ultimate African adventure there are still surprises to be found by the traveller prepared to step off the beaten track.
'A melancholic, farewell journey . . . Theroux does all this inimitably, and more, getting better the more detours he takes' Evening Standard
'Hard to put down, brutal honesty. Theroux proves himself a sharp observer of human foibles and a master of pithy description. The book he has crafted out of his experiences packs plenty of bang' Spectator
'As we worry about the future of the continent, there could be no better guide than Theroux . . . his sense that this is his final journey adds to the power' GQ
'Excellent, barbed reportage' Independent
'Probably the most important travel writer of his generation' Sunday Times
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.
Award-winning writer Paul Theroux draws upon personal experience of living in Malawi in his eye-opening novel, about one man's return to an Africa he no longer recognises, The Lower River.
Decades ago Massachusetts salesman Ellis Hock spent four years in Africa - and the continent has never left him. So when his wife walks out and his business goes belly up, Ellis turns back to the one place in which he briefly found happiness.
Yet returning to the village of Malabo shocks him. The school he built is a ruin. The people he remembers are poor, apathetic, hostile. The country labours as if under a great, invisible burden. However, Ellis is determined. This is his escape, a paradise regained.
But escape can be a snare, a trap for the unwary . . .
The Lower River is a hypnotic, compelling and brilliant return to a terrain no one has ever written better about than Paul Theroux: the tragic stage of modern Africa, AIDS-ravaged and despairing in the face of creeping consumerism, greed and dependence.
'Remarkable, admirable, riveting, heartbreaking. A masterly, moving portrait of how Africa ensnares and enchants' Guardian
'Terrific writing. Theroux's senses are always on full alert' Evening Standard
'Powerful, vivid, shocking' The Times
'Theroux invests this very 21st-century journey into the heart of ennui with a caustic bite, like the snakes that pop up throughout' Metro
'The sense of menace is masterful. Theroux has never written a better novel' Sunday Telegraph
American travel writer Paul Theroux is known for the rich descriptions of people and places that is often streaked with his distinctive sense of irony; his novels and collected short stories, My Other Life, The Collected Stories, My Secret History, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro, A Dead Hand, Millroy the Magician, The Elephanta Suite, Saint Jack, The Consul's File, The Family Arsenal, The Mosquito Coast, and his works of non-fiction, including the iconic The Great Railway Bazaar are available from Penguin.
Paul Theroux invites us to join him on one of his most exotic and tantalizing adventures exploring the coasts and blue lagoons of the Pacific Islands, and taking up residence to discover the secrets of these isles.
Theroux is a mesmerizing narrator – brilliant, witty, keenly perceptive as he floats through Gauguin landscapes, sails in the wake of Captain Cook and recalls the bewitching tales of Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson. Alone in his kayak, paddling to seldom visited shores, he glides through time and space, discovering a world of islands, their remarkable people, and in turn, happiness.
‘A sharp, fascinating and highly entertaining book … Theroux at his best’ Daily Telegraph.
A compendium of travel writing from a master traveller
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 traveller. Part philosophical guide, part miscellany, part reminiscence, The Tao of Travel enumerates 'The Contents of Some Travellers' Bags' and exposes 'Writers Who Wrote About Places They Never Visited'; tracks extreme journeys in 'Travel As An Ordeal' and highlights some of 'Travellers' Favourite Places'. Excerpts from the best of Theroux's own work are interspersed with selections from travellers both familiar and unexpected, including Vladimir Nabokov, Henry David Thoreau, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway and more.
The Tao of Travel is a unique tribute to the pleasures and pains of travel in its golden age.
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.
Sunrise with Sea Monsters is Paul Theroux's immensely entertaining collection of his shorter writings, ranging from sketches to critical essays. Each piece marks a new 'confrontation with the world' and throws new light on the political and social climate of diverse cultures such as those of New York, Singapore, Ireland and Malawi. Others give a lively portrayal of the people Theroux has met or books and landscapes which have inspired him.
Above all, this is a fascinating perspective on two decades of travelling, writing and living away from home.
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.
The fictional narrator of these memoirs, a man of many different guises, has reconstructed his past, giving it wit and life, tragedy and pathos, and imposed an order on it through careful editing. Life, it seems, has no apparent plot and so it can seem messier than fiction; sometimes it seems as if our hero is leading many different, separate lives . . .
'A memoir; a collection of short stories; an assemblage of fables; an anthology of Theroux: a book in which he is everywhere present, as himself and as someone other . . . Endlessly inventive, beguiling, provocative and insidiously readable' Sunday Telegraph
Whether visiting the King of the Lozis at a bend in the Zambezi river or crossing the United States in a railway car of unsurpassable luxury, relating his experiments with biblical dieting, or detailing the illneses and diseases suffered in half a lifetime of travel, Paul Theroux, the fresh-air fiend himself, is always an entertaining and honest guide.
Full of startling encounters and memorable scenes, fascinating and sometimes bizarre locations, and enlightening musings on themes as various as sexual attraction and the point of travel writing itself, this extensive collection of his shorter pieces is a rich and remarkable book from a superb writer.
Fourteen-year-old Jilly Farina walks into the tent at the County Fair and finds her life transformed. Fixing her with his hypnotic gaze, Millroy the Magician performs astonishing miracles. When she is later magicked into his trailer and Millroy promises to train her as his assistant, Jilly feels safe for the first time in her short life.
But Millroy is more than a mere stage show magician. A vegetarian and health fanatic, a possessor of healing and hypnotic powers, Millroy's mission is to change the eating habits of an entire nation. And through Jilly he has found the strength to preach his evangelical message.
With Millroy's messianic fervour ever growing, Jilly begins to have doubts - but Millroy knows that without Jilly there will be no magic . . .
Sir Vidia's Shadow is a book that chronicles bestselling author Paul Theroux's long friendship with writer V.S Naipaul from its beginning to untimely end with both funny and moving moments and stark honesty.
'Both unputdownable and utterly engaging' Jonathan Raban, The Times Literary Supplement
'I started reading Theroux Sir Vidia's Shadow, the story of his friendship with V.S. Naipaul over thirty years and five continents. I couldn't, as they say, put it down. I don't know of a more revealing study of the peculiar nature of friendship between professional writers, an unstable compound of empathy, solidarity and rivalry' David Lodge, Guardian Books of the Year
'Thoroughly compelling. We can call it a memoir, or a biographical sketch, but it has more in it - more candour, more intensity, more angry puzzlement - than we would normally expect from either of these genres' Sunday Telegraph
'The portrait of Naipaul that emerged is uproariously believable. . . most people are damaged human beings. What distinguishes writers is that can turn their damage into something life-enhancing. That is what Sir Vidia's Shadow resplendently does' John Carey, Sunday Times
American travel writer Paul Theroux is known for the rich descriptions of people and places that is often streaked with his distinctive sense of irony; his other non-fiction titles, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Happy Isles of Oceania, Sunrise with Seamonsters, The Kingdom by the Sea, The Tao of Travel, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, The Old Patagonian Express, The Great Railway Bazaar, Dark Star Safari, Fresh-air Fiend, The Pillars of Hercules, and his novels and collections of short stories, including the James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner The Mosquito Coast are available from Penguin.
Jack Flowers, saint or sinner, caught a passing bumboat into Singapore and got a job as a water-clerk to a Chinese ship chandler. Now, on the side, he offers girls (indeed 'anything, anything at all') to tourists, sailors, residents and expatriates, but he is haunted by his lack of worldly success and his fifty-three years weigh heavily on him. So when he agrees to act as blackmailer for the faintly sinister American, Edwin Shuck, in a plot against a general from Vietnam, he has high, not to mention wild, hopes of triumph.
These are the outrageous confessions of an ingenious con man in the seedy and unforgettable world of expatriates amidst imperial ruins.
Award-winning writer Paul Theroux takes us on a journey through small town Malaysia through the eyes of the exuberant Spencer Savage in his breathtaking novel The Consul's File.
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.
'A cool and witty sequence. . . a polished and professional performance' Guardian
'Theroux's writing is at its most adventurous in The Consul's File. There is no book I can compare this to: Mr Theroux's artistry is individual, serene, yet also grainy with fierce truths' The Times
American travel writer Paul Theroux is known for the rich descriptions of people and places that is often streaked with his distinctive sense of irony; his novels and collected short stories, My Other Life, The Collected Stories, My Secret History, The Lower River, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro, A Dead Hand, Millroy the Magician, The Elephanta Suite, Saint Jack, The Family Arsenal, The Mosquito Coast, and his works of non-fiction, including the iconic The Great Railway Bazaar are available from Penguin.
The Collected Stories is a collection of award-winning writer Paul Theroux's short stories, each of which brimming with astute observations and sharp wit that will captivate readers the world over.
'[Theroux] makes and remakes his own world...the smell, sound, sight of his scenes is always strong, even pungent; and, even more, his dialogue is powerfully but also effortlessly accurate' Sunday Telegraph
'Theroux willingly explores the blighted territory of a failing marriage; the tangled jungle of a mad poet's secret anti-Semitism; the belated sexual guilt of a Hindu. . . a book of many and varied pleasures; to read it is to feel alert, curious, adventurous' Observer
'Paul Theroux's writing is impeccable and thoughtfully entertaining. . . his artistry is individual, serene, yet also grainy with fierce truths' The Times
'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
'You close the book feeling you have read a single big narrative rather than a series of short ones. . . As a short-story writer, he makes a terrific novelist' Sunday Times
American travel writer Paul Theroux is known for the rich descriptions of people and places that is often streaked with his distinctive sense of irony; his novels and collected short stories, My Other Life, My Secret History, The Lower River, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro, A Dead Hand, Millroy the Magician, The Elephanta Suite, Saint Jack, The Consul's File, The Family Arsenal, The Mosquito Coast, and his works of non-fiction, including the iconic The Great Railway Bazaar are available from Penguin.