When he was a young man, Ellis Hock spent four of the best years of his life with the Peace Corps in Malawi. So when his wife of forty-two years leaves him, he decides to return to the village where he was stationed in search of the happiness he’d been missing since he left. But what he finds is not what he expected. The school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people.
They remember Ellis and welcome him with open arms. Soon, however, their overtures turn menacing; they demand money and refuse to let him leave the village. Is his new life an escape or a trap?
“Theroux’s bravely unsentimental novel about a region where he began his own grand career should become part of anybody’s education in the continent.”—Washington Post
“The Lower River is riveting in its storytelling and provocative in its depiction of this African backwater, infusing both with undertones of slavery and cannibalism, savagery and disease.”—New York Times Book Review
Paul Theroux’s best-selling Dark Star Safari chronicled his epic overland voyage from Cairo to Cape Town, providing an insider’s look at modern Africa. Now, with The Last Train to Zona Verde, he returns to discover how both he and Africa have changed in the ensuing years.
Traveling alone, Theroux sets out from Cape Town, going north through South Africa, Namibia, then into Angola, encountering a world increasingly removed from tourists’ itineraries and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. After covering nearly 2,500 arduous miles, he cuts short his journey, a decision he chronicles with unsparing honesty in a chapter titled “What Am I Doing Here?” Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, The Last Train to Zona Verde is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers.
"Everything is under scrutiny in Paul Theroux’s latest travel book—not just the people, landscapes and sociopolitical realities of the countries he visits, but his own motivations for going where he goes . . . His readers can only be grateful." — Seattle Times
“If this book is proof, age has not slowed Theroux or encouraged him to rest on his achievements . . . Gutsy, alert to Africa's struggles, its injustices and history.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Paul Theroux has spent the past fifty years roaming the globe, describing his encounters with remote people and far-flung places in ten best-selling travel books. Now, for the first time, he explores a part of America—the Deep South. Setting out on a winding road trip, Theroux discovers a region of architectural and artistic wonders, incomparable music, mouth-watering cuisine—and also some of the worst schools, medical care, housing, and unemployment rates in the nation.
Yet, no matter where he goes, Theroux meets the unsung heroes of the South, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who found their way home and devoted their lives to rebuilding a place they could never live without.
“Paul Theroux’s latest travel memoir had me at hello . . . Theroux pulls no punches in his quest to understand this overlooked margin of American life.” — Boston Globe
“A vivid contemporary portrait of rural life . . . a deeply affecting personal account.” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and "a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface" (Rocky Mountain News). In a new postscript, Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.
“Beneath the deceptive elegance of these stories, land mines lurk, and Theroux detonates them with gusto.” — O, the Oprah Magazine
A family watches their patriarch transform into the singing, wisecracking lead of an old-timey minstrel show. An art collector publicly destroys his most valuable pieces. Two boys stand by as their father wages war on the raccoons living under their house. In this new collection, acclaimed author Paul Theroux shows us humanity possessed, consumed by compulsive desire, always with his carefully honed eye for detail and the subtle idiosyncrasies that bring his characters to life. Searing, dark, and sure to unsettle, Mr. Bones is a stunning display of Theroux’s “fluent, faintly sinister powers of vision and imagination” (The New Yorker).
“Fans of Theroux’s fiction will be pleased to observe, in the twenty stories collected in Mr. Bones, clear evidence of how little he has mellowed over time . . . Mr. Bones is a series of characteristically dark and sharply focused snapshots from the world that Paul Theroux has observed—and invented.” — Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review
A far-ranging collection of the best travel writing pieces published in 2013, collected by guest editor Paul Theroux. The Best American Travel Writing consistently includes a wide variety of pieces, illuminating the wonder, humor, fear, and exhilaration that greets all of us when we embark on a journey to a new place. Readers know that there is simply no other option when they want great travel writing.