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 on Cape Cod.
In the Deep South, Theroux finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine and yet also some of the nation’s worst schools, housing and unemployment rates. On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road “the plantation.” He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families --- the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without.
A family watches in horror as their patriarch transforms into the singing, wise-cracking lead of an old-timey minstrel show. A renowned art collector relishes publicly destroying his most valuable pieces. Two boys stand by helplessly as their father stages an all-consuming war on the raccoons living in the woods around their house. In this new collection of short stories, Paul Theroux explores the tenuous leadership of the elite and the surprising revenge of the overlooked.
“Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,” writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey through the continent he knows and loves best. Theroux first came to Africa as a 22-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, and the pull of the vast land never left him. Now he returns, after 50 years on the road, to explore the little-traveled territory of western Africa and to take stock both of the place and of himself.
When his wife and child leave him, Ellis Hock journeys back to Malawi on the remote Lower River, an area he hasn’t returned to since his years with the Peace Corps. But when he arrives, he finds that poverty and apathy have transformed the village he once so idealized.
Herbie Gneiss is forced to drop out of college and get a job at a toy factory to support his mother's potato chip habit. When Herbie is drafted, Mr. Gibbon, a patriotic veteran who alsow worked at the factory, falls in love with Herbie's mother and the couple moves into Miss. Ball's boarding house. Convinced that they need to do their patriotic duty, the trio of seniors decide to rob a local bank that is clearly a Communist front. Will they pull it off?