Figures in a Landscape (Paperback)

People and Places

By Paul Theroux

Eamon Dolan/Mariner Books, 9781328592781, 416pp.

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (5/8/2018)

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

"A portrait of an optimist with curiosity and affection for humanity in all its forms."The New York Times Book Review
 
"Theroux is at the top of his game with his third collection of essays, a magisterial grouping of intimate remembrances, globe-trotting adventures, and incisive literary critiques."Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
 
"Theroux's observations are so keen and writerly skills so sharp that he butter-slices narratives with a razor-thin surgeon's scalpel, masterfully serving up both the world's dark underbelly and its gloriously uplifting sustenance of love, longing and wonder-lust." Forbes

Paul Theroux’s latest collection of essays applies his signature searching curiosity to a life lived as much in reading as on the road. This writerly tour-de-force features a satisfyingly varied selection of topics. Travel essays take us to Ecuador, Zimbabwe, and Hawaii, to name a few. Gems of literary criticism reveal fascinating depth in the work of Henry David Thoreau, Muriel Spark, Joseph Conrad, and Hunter Thompson. And in a series of breathtakingly personal profiles, we take a helicopter ride with Elizabeth Taylor, go diagnosing with Oliver Sacks, eavesdrop on the day-to-day life of a Manhattan dominatrix, and explore New York with Robin Williams.

An extended meditation on the craft of writing binds together this wide-ranging collection, along with Theroux’s constant quest for the authentic in a person or in a place.
 


About the Author

PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River 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 Cape Cod.


Praise For Figures in a Landscape: People and Places

"A portrait of an optimist with curiosity and affection for humanity in all its forms, as well as a ravenous appetite for the literary efforts of others . . . Theroux’s sweet spot happens to be spinning a convincing narrative through wandering conversations with any citizens who cross his path . . . Emotionally affective." New York Times Book Review

"Novelist and travel writer Theroux is at the top of his game with his third collection of essays, a magisterial grouping of intimate remembrances, globe-trotting adventures, and incisive literary critiques . . . A highly versatile, appealing writer, Theroux casts a wide net with pleasing and entertaining results." Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[Theroux’s] stories are less travelogues than well-curated meditations on some of the places, people, and moments he has experienced in a lifetime of rambles . . . His spare, unhurried prose style, which is rarely long-winded, betrays a novelist's relish for illuminating details and devastating turns of phrase . . . A masterfully simple and satisfying collection.” — Kirkus Reviews

"Those who’ve missed these thirty pieces where previously published will be impressed by the breadth of his interests, the depth of his research, and the scrupulousness of his prose. A profile of Elizabeth Taylor . . . works a miracle, allowing us to view the icon with unjaded eyes. A lengthy profile of a dominatrix . . . offers genuine insight into both spanker and spanked. Appreciations of Conrad, Greene, Maugham, and Simenon show how book introductions ought to be done. And the closing, more personal pieces . . . add emotional heft and shape to this wide-ranging, thought-provoking, and eminently browsable collection." — Booklist

"Theroux's observations are so keen and writerly skills so sharp that he butter-slices narratives with a razor-thin surgeon's scalpel, masterfully serving up both the world's dark underbelly and its gloriously uplifting sustenance of love, longing and wonder-lust." — Forbes

"In short, there is something for everyone . . . His talky, big-hearted book will make a heavenly companion at the beach." — Honolulu Star-Advertiser

"His new collection of essays, like its illustrious author, is full of surprises."— Forbes.com