Paul Theroux - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Stories about Paul Theroux

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Paul Theroux   (1941 - )
Category:  American Literature
Born: 1941
Medford, Massachusetts, United States
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Paul Theroux - LIFE STORIES
9/19/1973     Theroux, Herodotus, Travel
On this day in 1973 Paul Theroux departed on the 15:30 from London's Victoria Station for Paris, the Orient Express, and the twenty-nine other trains that would take him on the fourteen-week journey documented in The Great Railway Bazaar. This was the first of Theroux's travel books, and decades later it is still on many Top Ten lists for the genre.
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Fresh Air Fiend
anthology, travel
My Other Life
The Great Railway Bazaar
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Book Excerpt: Dark Star Safari
Find the first chapter of the author's 2003 travel book sub-titled "Overland from Cairo to Capetown."

"All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again. Feeling that the place was so large it contained many untold tales and some hope and comedy and sweetness, too - feeling that there was more to Africa than misery and terror - I aimed to reinsert myself in the bundu, as we used to call the bush, and to wander the antique hinterland. There I had lived and worked, happily, almost forty years ago, in the heart of the greenest continent."
Guardian Unlimited
The writer discusses The Stranger at the Palazzo D'Oro (2003), his childhood, "nasty" reputation, feelings about writing, and family.

"Theroux, too, has something of a reputation for nastiness. His public falling-out with old friend VS Naipaul, and the book (some say assassination) that he wrote about it, Sir Vidia's Shadow, was praised for its brilliance, but few reviewers had the stomach for its unflinching lack of sentiment. ... His severity is, in some cases, so ogreish, so theatrically waspish, as to seem almost playful. He is uncompromising even in the pursuit of pleasure. Born in the US, for 20 years resident in Britain, Theroux now lives, to the amusement and envy of his peers, in Hawaii."
Interview with Don Swaim
"Paul Theroux, author of The Great Railway Bazaar, Riding the Iron Rooster, and The Old Patagonian Express, is best known to some readers as a travel writer. To others, Paul Theroux is better known for his novel, The Mosquito Coast, and other works of fiction. Paul Theroux talks with Don Swaim in 1986 about his science fiction novel, Ozone, and he gives advice on good places to avoid." (24 minutes)
New York Times
Find reviews of books including Girls at Play, Saint Jack, The Mosquito Coast, and The Great Railway Bazaar. Also features articles by and about Theroux, including his public denunciation of former friend and mentor, V. S. Naipaul.

"The book is, of course, as much about Theroux as it is about Naipaul. As the friendship unravels and Naipaul's rejection becomes unambiguous, he begins to revise his earlier opinions of his mentor, writing, 'He was mistaken about so much.'"
A 1999 interview in which Thoreaux discusses the importance of creative license, his aversion to danger, loathing for books about writers, and reputation as a "prickly," "irascible," and "dyspeptic" author. In the following excerpt, the author talks about his reasons for writing My Other Life in responsible to criticism of an earlier work:

"When I wrote My Secret History, people said, 'Oh, you're just writing about your life.' As though I sat down and simply recalled a few incidents from my life. But anyone who reads the book can see that each part of it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Each part of it is self-contained and very carefully constructed in a way that life never is. One's life is a much more complex, random affair where you only really understand it at the very end. And I thought that My Secret History was very artfully constructed, and most of it was made up. And people said, 'Well that's your autobiography.' So I thought, Well I know what I'll do. I'll write a book and call it an autobiography. But it will be all lies."
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March 17, 2018
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