Synopses & Reviews
Fresh Air Fiend
is Theroux's first collection devoted exclusively to travel writing, for which the author of such classics as The Great Railway Bazaar
and Riding The Iron Rooster
(as well as more than twenty works of fiction, including
The Mosquito Coast
) is justly famous around the globe.
Wonderfully broad in scope, thought, and feeling, the book touches down on five continents and floats through most of the seas in between. From the crisp quiet of a solitary week spent in the snow-bound Maine woods, to the expectant chaos of Hong Kong on the eve of the Hand-over, to a remote island in the Pacific where the first atomic bombs were detonated, Theroux is the perfect guide casually informative, keenly observant, wry, and entertaining. As Time has written, Theroux "serves as both the camera and the eye, and both the details and the illusions are developed with brilliance." He also reaches back into his past to tell of his earliest ventures into Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, treats us to insightful readings of his favorite travel writing classics, and reveals the fascinating stories behind some of his own.
In this remarkable collection of essays and articles written over the last fifteen years, Paul Theroux demonstrates how the traveling life and the writing life are intimately connected. His journeys in remote hinterlands and crowded foreign capitals provide the necessary perspective to "become a stranger" in order to discover the self.
Traveling with Theroux is a literary adventure of the first order, never a languid luxury cruise, always an insightful journey to the heart and soul of a place and its people. Fresh Air Fiend is the ultimate good read for anyone fascinated by travel and travel writing. It's a perfect introduction to the author's work and an excellent, overarching collection for longtime readers and fans.
This collection of Theroux's essays and articles over the past 15 years follows his highly successful "Sunrise with Seamonsters." This volume, however, is devoted exclusively to travel writings that capture such scenes as the snowy Maine woods and Hong Kong on the eve of the hand-over.
Paul Theroux's first collection of essays and articles devoted entirely to travel writing, FRESH AIR FIEND touches down on five continents and floats through most seas in between to deliver a literary adventure of the first order, with the incomparable Paul Theroux as a guide. From the crisp quiet of a solitary week spent in the snowbound Maine woods to the expectant chaos of Hong Kong on the eve of the Hand-over, Theroux demonstrates how the traveling life and the writing life are intimately connected. His journeys in remote hinterlands and crowded foreign capitals provide the necessary perspective to "become a stranger" in order to discover the self. A companion volume to SUNRISE WITH SEAMONSTERS, FRESH AIR FIEND is the ultimate good read for anyone fascinated by travel in the wider world or curious about the life of one of our most passionate travelers.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -466).
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 Kowloon Tong. His highly acclaimed travel books include Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and Fresh Air Fiend. The Mosquito Coast and Dr. Slaughter have both been made into successful films. He was the guest editor of The Best American Travel Writing (Houghton Mifflin, October 2001). Theroux is a frequent contributer to magazines including Talk and Men's Journal. He divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian Islands, where he is a professional beekeeper.
Table of Contents
Contents Introduction: Being a Stranger 1 one / time travel Memory and Creation: The View from Fifty 17 The Object of Desire 35 At the Sharp End: Being in the Peace Corps 40 Five Travel Epiphanies 46 Travel Writing: The Point of It 49 two / fresh air fiend Fresh Air Fiend 57 The Awkward Question 62 The Moving Target 65 Dead Reckoning to Nantucket 70 Paddling to Plymouth 79 Fever Chart: Parasites I Have Known 85 three / a sense of place Diaries of Two Cities: Amsterdam and London 93 Farewell to Britain: Look Thy Last on All Things Lovely 102 Gravy Train: A Private Railway Car 106 The Maine Woods: Camping in the Snow 113 Trespassing in Florida 120 Down the Zambezi 126 The True Size of Cape Cod 148 German Humor 151 four / china Down the Yangtze 157 Chinese Miracles 189 Ghost Stories: A Letter from Hong Kong on the Eve of the Hand-over 236 five / the pacific Hawaii 271 The Other Oahu 271 On Molokai 277 Connected in Palau 283 Tasting the Pacific 293 Palawan: Up and Down the Creek 298 Christmas Island: Bombs and Birds 312 six / books of travel My Own 323 The Edge of the Great Rift: Three African Novels 323 The Black House 328 The Great Railway Bazaar 330 The Old Patagonian Express 336 The Making of The Mosquito Coast 341 Kowloon Tong 347 Other People's 349 Robinson Crusoe 349 Thoreau's Cape Cod 355 The Secret Agent: A Dangerous Londoner 363 The Worst Journey in the World 372 Racers to the Pole 378 PrairyErth 384 Looking for a Ship 388 seven / escapees and exiles Chatwin Revisited 395 Greeneland 408 V. S. Pritchett: The Foreigner as Traveler 419 William Simpson: Artist and Traveler 423 Rajat Neogy: An Indian in Uganda 432 The Exile Moritz Thomsen 435 eight / fugues Unspeakable Rituals and Outlandish Beliefs 443 Gilstrap, the Homesick Explorer 454 The Return of Bingo Humpage 459 Bibliography 463