January 27, 2010
A Dead Hand A Crime in Calcutta: A Novel Paul Theroux Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 280 pp., $26
January 27, 2010 |
Paul Theroux's contribution to the revival of contemporary travel writing is so seminal that casual readers may be inclined to forget that most of his rather astonishingly prodigious output has been literary fiction. "A Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta" is his 29th fictional work and his 44th book, which isn't bad for a 43-year career. The subtitle suggests that Theroux intends this new volume to be considered as a novel of crime and detection, which makes it his first venture into that genre.
September 20, 2008
Re "Thoreau's moose," Opinion, Sept. 14 Thank you, Paul Theroux, for reminding us of yet another salient difference between Republicans and Democrats -- the love of hunting as sport. I wonder, has Palin read my favorite of all Dr. Seuss books, "Thidwick, the Big-Hearted Moose," to her children, or is this one that she would-if-she-could have removed from the Wasilla library shelves? To think that the ability to "field-dress" a moose is evidence of ability to lead and worthy of cheers is mind-boggling.
August 20, 2008 |
In 1973, an expatriate American novelist possessed of great ambitions, pretty good reviews and slender means set out from London's Victoria Station to circumnavigate the great Eurasian land mass, mostly by train. Two years later, he published an account of that epic journey, "The Great Railway Bazaar." The 32-year-old novelist was Paul Theroux, and it overstates nothing to say that his book turned the page and set down the beginnings of a new chapter in one of literature's oldest continuous genres: travel writing.
September 26, 2007 |
My one personal encounter with Paul Theroux occurred in 2000 at a luncheon celebrating the publication of "Fresh Air Fiend," a collection of his travel writing. I was standing with half a dozen others when an ebullient Theroux bounded over, placed a hand on someone's shoulder, then, without any sort of greeting or other preamble, asked our group, "Have you ever been to Seville?" Silence ensued.
March 11, 2007 |
AMERICA as a source of European literary fascination dates back at least as far as Alexis de Tocqueville, who spent nine months traversing the country in 1831, interviewing everyone from presidents to prisoners on his way to compiling "Democracy in America." Louis Theroux's aims in "The Call of the Weird" are a bit more humble. The book documents his ramblings through a variety of fringe American subcultures, each more dismal than the last.