Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux’s next novel, Burma Sahib, is about Eric Blair’s five years as a policeman in Burma.

Diary: Out to Lunch

Paul Theroux, 13 April 2023

In London​ fifty years ago – the seedy 1970s – no writers I knew had money. This I found reassuring because I was so hard-up myself. My credit was so bad I didn’t qualify for a card and paid for everything with pound notes or bad cheques. No writers I’d heard of had money either – not real money. Big money entered the British book world some years later, an...

Richard Sanger gives an excellent account of the trucker protests in Ottawa, which were under-reported both in the US and the UK (LRB, 21 April). Yes, Fox News was on hand in the snowy streets, but its dispatches were tendentious and unhelpful. I know this because, proud of my Quebecois ancestry and always curious about Canada, I visited Ottawa in February to observe the efforts of this odd bunch,...

Diary: Out of Sir Vidia’s Shadow

Paul Theroux, 24 February 2022

Ihadplanned to become a doctor – I imagined working in a hospital in a tropical country like Dr Schweitzer. I graduated in 1963, but being unable to afford medical school I joined the Peace Corps and worked as a teacher in the British Central African territory of Nyasaland, which became the Republic of Malawi six months after I arrived. Without much encouragement, I was writing all...

Diary: My Gaggle

Paul Theroux, 20 June 2019

I have spent​ the greater part of my life, more than fifty years, doing what I am doing now, writing in ink on a lined white pad, hoping not to be interrupted, alone and grateful for my solitude. Weekends are a waiting period, most uninvited talk (the phone, repairmen, Jehovah’s Witnesses) drives me to distraction; national holidays are an annoyance, vacations – when I am...

Endocannibals: Paul Theroux

Adam Mars-Jones, 25 January 2018

Big families​ are rare now in the West – even Catholic countries in Europe aren’t exactly prolific, though Ireland holds out against the trend – but even when they were...

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I have been trying to explain to myself how such a book as this held my uninterrupted attention from first to last. I read it almost at a sitting. This was certainly not because of any previous...

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Through the Grinder

Graham Coster, 8 February 1996

‘Are you making a trip here to write a book?’ inquires the manager as Paul Theroux books into a hotel in Corsica, 136 pages into his latest travel narrative. ‘I don’t...

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John Lanchester, 24 May 1990

It’s sometimes easy to forget that good writing is not necessarily brilliant on the surface. There are talented novelists who eschew local flourishes in favour of a tonal evenness which...

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Problem Parent

Michael Wood, 17 August 1989

‘Look within,’ Virginia Woolf said, but she wasn’t thinking of brain surgery. Memories of Amnesia is a black joke about inner landscapes, or more precisely, about a mind turned...

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Dick Wilson, 27 October 1988

The idea of China is elusive. Not only was its civilisation different from those that shaped the West, but it flowed earlier and more continuously – and mutual contact was tenuous. The...

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Fiction and the Poverty of Theory

John Sutherland, 20 November 1986

A drunken American historian once lurched over to David Caute at a party and told him: ‘Having read your last novel, or part of it, I’d advise you to give up writing fiction –...

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Theroux and Through

Julian Barnes, 21 June 1984

A couple of years ago there was one of those Barry Humphries TV specials in which the Australian entertainer teases an audience of notables to the edge of humiliation. The guests attend to the...

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Dark Places

John Sutherland, 18 November 1982

With Wise Virgin, A.N. Wilson continues his bleak investigation of trauma. The Healing Art (his most acclaimed novel so far) scrutinised human sensibility under the sentence of terminal cancer.

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Travelling in circles

Robert Taubman, 3 December 1981

Paul Theroux is the author of The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express. He is better-known for these than for his nine novels. The novels are extraordinarily different from each...

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Michael Irwin, 4 December 1980

In the introduction to his Collected Short Stories Kingsley Amis strongly implies that the genre is not at present in a healthy state. He claims that subsidisation by the Arts Council, or other...

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