Fresh Air Fiend
By Paul Theroux
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618034062, 480pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2000
List Price: $27.00*
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In this remarkable collection of essays and articles written over the last fifteen years, Paul Theroux demonstrates how the traveling life and the writing life are intimately connected. Not simply an escape from the mundane, travel has always been a creative act for Theroux. His journeys in remote hinterlands and crowded foreign capitals provide the necessary perspective to "become a stranger" in order to discover the self.
Wonderfully broad in scope, thought, and feeling, Fresh Air Fiend touches down on all five continents and floats through most of the seas in between. From the crisp quiet of a solitary week spent in the snow-bound Maine woods, to the expectant chaos of Hong Kong on the eve of the Hand-over, to a small Pacific island where atomic bombs were detonated, Theroux is the perfect guide -- casually informative, keenly observant, wry, and entertaining. As Time has written, Theroux "serves as both the camera and the eye, and both the details and the illusions are developed with brilliance." He also reaches back into his past to tell of his earliest ventures into Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, treats us to insightful readings of his favorite travel books, and reveals the fascinating stories behind some of his own.
Fresh Air Fiend is a companion volume to Theroux's earlier, much beloved Sunrise with Seamonsters, but this is his first collection devoted completely to travel writing, for which the author of such classics as The Great Railway Bazaar and Riding the Iron Rooster is justly famous.
Traveling with Theroux is a literary adventure of the first order, never a languid luxury cruise, always an insightful journey to the heart and soul of a place and its people. Fresh Air Fiend is the ultimate good read for anyone fascinated by travel in the wider world or curious about the life of one of our most passionate travelers.
PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include A Dead Hand 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.