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The Lower Riverby Paul Theroux
Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to the Hotel Honolulu, a down-at-the-heels tourist place thats two blocks from the beach on a back street in Waikiki, where middle America stays and dreams.
Like the Canterbury pilgrims, every guest in this eighty-room hotel has come in search of something — sun, love, happiness, unnamable longing — and everyone has a story. Honeymooners, vacationers, wanderers, mythomaniacs, soldiers, and families all land at the Hotel Honolulu. But the hotel is as suited to being a crime scene as a love nest. Fortunately, our keen-eyed narrator, a writer down on his luck, is there to relate all the comings and goings. Hes lost money, friends, house, and family, and he has no experience running a hotel. But all that doesnt stop Buddy, the bloated, boozy hotel owner — the last of a dying breed — from signing him on as manager. It isnt long before the hotel expands to encompass the narrators whole world. His original plan of escape from a life of the mind becomes something altogether different: a way to return to the world he left, the world of imagined life.
No one but Paul Theroux could write this romp of a book, with its acutely drawn characters and canny insights into a place that is often viewed as a simple island paradise. In this unforgettable novel, Theroux shows us a funny, languid, louche floating world, island style. This is the essence of Hawaii as it has never been depicted, and it is also the heart of America.
"Theroux (Hotel Honolulu) draws on personal experience and literary antecedents (think Heart of Darkness) for his latest adventurous tale. Ellis Hock, 62, has a marriage in shambles, an estranged daughter, and a failing business. Hoping to escape the modern world and put his money and time to good use, he leaves Massachusetts for a place rich with fonder memories — a village in the Lower River district of Malawi, where Ellis served with the Peace Corps for four years in his 20s. But Malabo is not the quaint community that he left decades ago — the people are more suspicious and reticent. Perhaps interaction with Western NGOs has changed them, or maybe it's just that Hock's youthful optimism has dimmed with age. But the village remembers him — the mzungu who doesn't fear snakes — and Hock finds himself ensnared in a situation far more complex than anything he expected. A somewhat slow exposition and occasional repetition aside, Theroux successfully grafts keen observations about the efficacy of international aid and the nature of nostalgia to a swift-moving narrative through a beautifully described landscape. Agent: Jin Auh, the Wylie Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A taut, tense, darkly suspenseful novel about a man who flees to Africa after his marriage falls apart, only to be caught up in a precarious situation in a seemingly benign village.
A new novel from the world's favorite travel writer and best-selling author of the novels The Mosquito Coast and The Elephanta Suite.
Jerry Delfont leads an aimless life in Calcutta, struggling in vain against his writer's block, or 'dead hand,' and flitting around the edges of a half-hearted romance. Then he receives a mysterious letter asking for his help. The story it tells is disturbing: A dead boy found on the floor of a cheap hotel, a seemingly innocent man in flight and fearing for reputation as well as his life.
Before long, Delfont finds himself lured into the company of the letter's author, the wealthy and charming Merrill Unger, and is intrigued enough to pursue both the mystery and the woman. A devotee of the goddess Kali, Unger introduces Delfont to a strange underworld where tantric sex and religious fervor lead to obsession, philanthropy and exploitation walk hand in hand, and, unless he can act in time, violence against the most vulnerable in society goes unnoticed and unpunished.
An atmospheric and masterful thriller from "the most gifted, the most prodigal writer of his generation" (Jonathan Raban).
Slade Steadman's lone opus, published twenty years ago, was Trespassing, a cult classic about his travels through dozens of countries without benefit of passport. With his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend Ava in tow, Steadman sets out for Ecuadors jungle in search of a rare hallucinogenic drug and the cure for his writers block. Amid a gang of thrill-seeking tourists, he finds his drug and his inspiration but is beset with an unnerving side effect—periodic blindness. His world is altered profoundly: Ava stays by his side, he writes an erotic, autobiographical novel with the drug serving as muse, and he returns to stardom.
Steadman becomes addicted to the drug and the insights it provides, only to have them desert him, along with his sight. Will he regain his vision? His visions? Or will he forgo the world of his imagining and his ambition?
As Theroux leads us toward the answers, he makes fresh magic out of the venerable intertwined themes of sight and insight. He also offers incisive, sometimes hilarious takes on the manifold ironies of travel, of trespass and trangession, and of the trappings of the writers life—from the fear of the blank page to the unexpected challenges of the book tour.
About the Author
PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari. He lives in Hawaii and Cape Cod.
Table of Contents
Contents The Stranger at the Palazzo dOro 1 A Judas Memoir I. Holy Week 111 II. Pup Tent 136 III. Seeing Truman 154 IV. Scouting for Boys 163 An African Story 225 Disheveled Nymphs 265
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