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Paul Theroux - Author

About the Author

Paul Theroux was born in Medford, Massachusetts in 1941 and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. His subsequent novels include The Family Arsenal, Picture Palace, The Mosquito Coast, O-Zone, Millroy the Magician, My Secret History, My Other Life, and, most recently, A Dead Hand. His highly acclaimed travel books include Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, Fresh Air Fiend, and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. He divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian Islands.

 

Author photo © William Furniss

Featured books by Paul Theroux

Mother Land

Mother Land

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/11/2017

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.

ebook of the month
Deep South Four Seasons on Back Roads

Deep South Four Seasons on Back Roads

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/09/2015

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 he writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers - the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi - and above all, the lives of the people he meets.

The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2015

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.

ebook of the month
The Lower River

The Lower River

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2013

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.

ebook of the month
Sunrise with Seamonsters Travels and Discoveries 1964-1984

Sunrise with Seamonsters Travels and Discoveries 1964-1984

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2011

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.

ebook of the month
My Other Life A Novel

My Other Life A Novel

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2011

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 ...

ebook of the month

Other books by Paul Theroux

The Lower River

The Lower River

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2013

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.

ebook of the month
Millroy the Magician

Millroy the Magician

Author: Paul Theroux Format: eBook Release Date: 06/08/2012

Jilly Farina is fourteen. Her father is drunk on the day of the Barnstable County Fair, so she goes by herself, and that night her life is transformed. When she walks into a tent to see Millroy the Magician, his eyes lighten from brown to green and fasten upon her. He performs miracles before her spellbound eyes. He tells her that he will train her to be his assistant, and he will give her a sequined costume. But this is only the beginning. Millroy is a magician not just of mere conjuring but of true, baffling magic. He is a healer, too, a vegetarian and health fanatic with a mission to change the eating habits of the United States. In search of the perfect platform, he finds it in television as an evangelical preacher, touting hygiene and the simple pure foods mentioned in the Bible. From fairground magician to cult leader, Millroy is unstoppable.

Saint Jack

Saint Jack

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2011

Award-winning writer Paul Theroux explores the darker underside of the community of expatriates in South-East Asia in his compelling and strikingly honest novel Saint Jack. 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 weight 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 conman in the seedy and unforgettable world of expatriates amidst imperial ruins. 'A witty, subtle, often moving self-portrait of a memorable rogue' Observer 'Theroux's prose it rich, his perceptions so many-layered, he involves us in a world that extends well beyond the physical limits of his novel' 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, 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.

The Consul's File

The Consul's File

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2011

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.

Sir Vidia's Shadow A Friendship Across Five Continents

Sir Vidia's Shadow A Friendship Across Five Continents

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2011

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.

Millroy the Magician

Millroy the Magician

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2011

Award-winning writer Paul Theroux tells a bewitching tale of circus magic and hypnotism which seems to hide a more sinister objective in his exquisite novel Millroy the Magician. Fourteen-year-old Jilly Farina walks into the tent at the County Fair and finds her life transformed. Fixing her with her hypnotic gaze, Millroy the Magician performs astonishing miracles. When she is later magicked into his trailer and Millroy promised to train her as his assistant, Jilly feels safe for the first time her 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 is on a mission to change the eating habits og 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. . . 'Brilliantly done. Theroux's best book for a very long time' Jonathan Raban, The Times Literary Supplement 'Fresh and unexpected...among Theroux's best' Philip Hensher, Guardian 'Magical' Daily 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 Lower River, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro, A Dead Hand, 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.

Fresh-air Fiend Travel Writings, 1985-2000

Fresh-air Fiend Travel Writings, 1985-2000

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2011

In this collection of Theroux's shorter travel writings, he writes of sweatshops in Dongguan, massage parlours in Kowloon, jellyfish in Palau and bomb craters on Chrsitmas Island. 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. 'Theroux remains the standard by which other travel writing must be judged' Observer Paul Therouxhas written many works of fiction and travel writing, including the modern classic The Great Railway, Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, My Secret History and The Mosquito Coasts. Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.

My Secret History A Novel

My Secret History A Novel

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2011

In My Secret History, award-winning writer Paul Theroux offers the reader an exciting insight into the double-life of Andre Parent in six compelling snapshots. 'Written with a rare intensity of both intelligence and feeling. . . a superbly realistic evocation of the journeys (both dark and comical) of the human heart' Salman Rushdie, Observer 'Nothing on the shelf has quite prepared the reader of My Secret History. . . Parent saunters into the book aged fifteen, shouldering a .22 Mossberg rifle as earlier, more innocent American heroes used to tote a fishing pole. In his pocket is a paperback translation of Dante's Inferno. . . he is a creature of naked and unquenchable ego, greedy for sex, money, experience, another life' Jonathan Raban, Observer 'Theroux's best creation, a character who is honest enough to know that he wants it both ways: to be the lover and also the solitary observer who betrays his loves by turning them into stories' Time 'Theroux's best fiction to date...combines the surfaces of memoir and travelogue with cunning fiction' Sunday Times 'Sharp, exact, very evocative. . . both disturbing and entertaining' Anthony Burgess, Independent 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, 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.

The Collected Stories World's End; Sinning with Annie; Jungle Bells; the Consul's File; the London Embassy;

The Collected Stories World's End; Sinning with Annie; Jungle Bells; the Consul's File; the London Embassy;

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2011

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.

Sunrise with Seamonsters Travels and Discoveries 1964-1984

Sunrise with Seamonsters Travels and Discoveries 1964-1984

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2011

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.

ebook of the month
The Family Arsenal

The Family Arsenal

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/10/2010

The Family Arsenal is a darkly comic novel of warped morals and disillusionment in South London by the award-winning writer Paul Theroux. In South London terrorists plot. . . Hood, a renegade American diplomat, envisions a new urban order in the opium for of his room. He flirts with terrorists, hoping to win their trust and respect. Mayo, his sometime bedmate, has just made a political statement - stealing a Flemish painting and negotiating publicity over this act with The Times. Murf the bomb-maker leaves his mark in red, scrawling 'Arsenal Rule' across half the city's walls, whilst his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Brodie, bombs Euston and afterwards worries about her complexion. A novel of London lowlife and the dispossessed, and a powerful and violent thriller of disenchanted people. 'A pleasure. . . with Theroux the thrills are never cheap and obvious' Guardian 'One of the most evocative, intelligently crafted suspense novels in years - like the early fiction of Graham Greene. . . London has rarely looked dingier or more sinister...an assured success' The New York Times 'Brilliant and haunting. . . the ingenious of the plot, the London setting. . . the trapped and interwoven people, and the balefully witty observation, have an undistracted force' Observer 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 Consul's File, The Mosquito Coast, and his works of non-fiction, including the iconic The Great Railway Bazaar are available from Penguin.

A Dead Hand A Crime in Calcutta

A Dead Hand A Crime in Calcutta

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/07/2010

A Dead Hand is a dark tale of crime in Calcutta, by Paul Theroux. Jerry Delfont is a travel writer with writer's block. Lounging in Calcutta one day, he receives a mysterious letter. It comes from an American philanthropist, Mrs Merrill Unger. An Indian friend of her son is in trouble: he woke up in a hotel room with a dead body next to him; he panicked and fled. Mrs Unger would like someone to discreetly look into this matter, to find out the truth. Will Delfont do her the honour? But Jerry is at first more intrigued by the beautiful, beguiling Mrs Unger and her Tantric massages. Yet as he begins investigating the circumstances surrounding the body he wonders what exactly is the nature of her philanthropy . . . A Dead Hand is a dark and twisted narrative of obsession and need from one of our finest writers. 'Richly enjoyable, entertaining . . . a satisfyingly tense, almost thrillerish conclusion'Financial Times 'Genuinely intriguing' The Times 'Original and enlightening' Daily Telegraph 'Theroux's prose is always a pleasure' Tatler 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.

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star On the tracks of 'The Great Railway Bazaar'

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star On the tracks of 'The Great Railway Bazaar'

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/05/2009

Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a journey from London to Asia by train. Thirty years ago Paul Theroux left London and travelled across Asia and back again by train. His account of the journey - The Great Railway Bazaar - was a landmark book and made his name as the foremost travel writer of his generation. Now Theroux 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. Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a brilliant chronicle of change and an exploration of how travel is 'the saddest of pleasures'. 'A dazzler, giving us the highs and lows of his journey and tenderness and acerbic humour . . . fellow-travelling weirdoes, amateur taxi drivers, bar-girls and long-suffering locals are brought vividly to life' Spectator 'Fans of Theroux are not likely to be disappointed. Theroux has great descriptive skill . . . the world is slightly less unknown by virtue of reading the book' Sunday Telegraph 'Relaxed, curious, confident, surprisingly tender. Theroux's writing has an immediate, vivid and cursory quality that gives it a collective strength' Sunday Times 'A brilliant eye, readable and vivid. Theroux has still got it' Observer 'Fascinating, a joy to read' Tatler 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.

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Author: Paul Theroux Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/12/2008

In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star , Paul Theroux retraces the steps he took thirty years ago in his classic The Great Railway Bazaar . From the Eurostar in London, he once again sets out on a journey to the East, travelling overland through Eastern Europe, India and Asia. Infused with the changes that have shaped the exterior landscape and enriched with developments to his own perceptions and psychology, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is an absorbing and beautifully written follow-up to The Great Railway Bazaar . This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60 per cent of the author's work and as low as 30 per cent with characters and plotlines removed.

The Elephanta Suite

The Elephanta Suite

Author: Paul Theroux Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/08/2008

Award-winning writer Paul Theroux removes the mystery and reveals the real India in his compelling novel The Elephanta Suite. We in the West think we know India. But, as Paul Theroux reveals, we need to think again. . . The Elephanta Suite brilliantly explores the shifting stories of those who come to India in search of that elusive something - and of how they react when the country and people they encounter are altogether foreign to their expectations. Through the eyes of a middle-aged couple, a sharp-suited lawyer and a gap-year traveller, we see illusions and preconceptions unravel, and an extraordinary new India - modern, complicated, uncertain of its coming future - appears before us. 'Throughout, the writing is rich and vivid. . . the book a pleasure to read' Literary Review 'Highly readable' Sunday Times 'Theroux has a sharp eye. . . re-working the old colonial themes in light of the country's rapid but uneven development. Theroux hasn't lost any of his insight or power to enthral' 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 Lower River, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro, A Dead Hand, Millroy the Magician, 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.