The title of "Fresh Air Fiend" is a little misleading, as this is a collection of more than just Theroux's travel writings. There are a number of essays on other topics, including some reviews of other writers; I especially enjoyed his enthusiatic review of McPhee's "Looking For a Ship", itself a personal favorite of mine. For so prolific an author Theroux's writing is always of the highest caliber; there are no wasted words in a Theroux novel or travelogue, and yet no important detail goes unrecorded or described. Given this you can see where his enthusiasm for McPhee comes from; his admiration is obvious and freely given. The discussions of Theroux's own novels, and how he came to write them, are also particularly enjoyable and illuminating. The story of "Mosquito Coast" covers not only the writing of the book, but the production of the movie as well, and Theroux's description of how it brought out the "Allie" in all...
As a once world traveler I was empowered by Mr. Theroux' writings. They encompassed not only the beauty, confusion and enlightenment of travel, but also the baffling loneliness and inevitable ethnocentrism. I found myself nodding in agreement, and moved that someone else had spoken truths about me of which I was not aware. It is not only the journey of a body, but the journey of a man through his life. This is a must read for anyone wondering about the world outside and the world within. JT
Paul Theroux is highly prolific, highly opinionated, a bit of an intellectual snob and a very good writer. He has produced a large body of fiction as well as many travel books like "Riding the Iron Rooster" (across China by train), "The Pillars of Hercules" (recounting his peregrinations around the Mediterranean) and "The Happy Islands of Oceania" (where he briefly gets stuck into Australians). Theroux is like a more choleric and worldlier Bill Bryson except that he is a writer of greater depth who was probably appalled by Bryson's effusive and almost fulsome praise of Australia in "Down Under". The latter writer wears his heart on his sleeve and his humour is more penetrable whereas Theroux is also capable of great wit and biting humour (this is especially evinced in a story from his collection "My Other Life", where he recounts his meeting (the reader isn't sure if it is a completely fictional account) with a serene Her Majesty and...
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