Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Read more...
Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America theDeep South. He 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. It s these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux s keen traveler s eye.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.From the writer whose great mission has always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself and thus, to challenge us (Boston Globe), Deep South is an ode toa region, vivid and haunting, full of life and loss alike."
- ISBN-13: 9780544323520
- ISBN-10: 0544323521
- Publisher: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publish Date: September 2015
- Page Count: 464
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Travel writer Theroux (Ghost Train to the Eastern Star) finds the traveling easier and his insights more penetrating in this engrossing passage through the South. Celebrating the wonders of American driving—no more rattle-trap trains or jam-packed buses—the New England native recounts several road trips from South Carolina through Arkansas, circling back to revisit places and people in a way he couldn't on his treks across foreign continents. His relaxed schedule lets him forget the journey and, instead, immerse himself in destinations that seem both familiar and strange ("Jesus is lord—we buy and sell guns," reads a billboard). Avoiding tourist traps, Theroux seeks out gun shows, church services, seedy motels, and downscale diners such as Doe's Eat Place, in Greenville, Miss.; he insistently probes the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, and the appalling poverty of back-road towns abandoned by industry. All this emerges through vivid, novelistic reportage as he gently prods people for their stories, reveling in their musical dialects, mapping the intersections of personal experience and tragic history that give the South "a great overwhelming sadness that couldn't fathom." Free of the sense of alienation that marked his recent travelogues, this luminous sojourn is Theroux's best outing in years. Color photos. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)