Paul Theroux biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Paul Theroux
Photo: Greg Martin

Paul Theroux

How to pronounce Paul Theroux: Thor-ew (which, incidentally, is different to Henry Thoreau which is pronounced like 'thorough')

Paul Theroux Biography

Paul Theroux ('The world's most perceptive travel writer'--Daily Mail) is the author of many highly acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), The Mosquito Coast (1981) Riding the Iron Rooster (1983), and Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories (2014). In 2015, Paul Theroux was awarded a Royal Medal from the Royal Geographical Society for "the encouragement of geographical discovery through travel writing." This award, approved by the Queen, is the highest award attainable for a traveler, and Theroux joins the ranks of recipients including Sir Edmund Hillary, Admiral Richard Byrd and Dr. Thor Heyerdahl. His other awards include the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters Award for literature; the Whitbread Prize for his novel, Picture Palace; and the James Tait Black Award for The Mosquito Coast. His travelogue, The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas, and The Mosquito Coast were both nominated for the American Book Award. His novels Saint Jack, The Mosquito Coast, Doctor Slaughter and Half Moon Street have been made into films and his short-story collection London Embassy was adapted for a British mini-series in 1987. Theroux holds honorary doctorates from three American universities and remains a highly sought-after speaker nationwide.

In The New York Times Book Review, Francine Prose called his story collection Mr. Bones "a series of characteristically dark and sharply focused snapshots from the world that Theroux has observed–and invented." Theroux's book Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads (2015), was described by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review as "an epically compelling travel memoir," and a Publishers Weekly starred review called it "Theroux's best outing in years." In a starred review, Publishers Weekly describes the essay collection Figures in a Landscape (2018) as "a magisterial grouping of intimate remembrances, globe-trotting adventures, and incisive literary critiques."

In 2016, the Huntington Library in Pasadena, Calif. acquired Paul Theroux's papers for its collection, covering the period from 1965 to 2015. The Theroux Archive at the Huntington Library includes notebooks, autograph drafts, unpublished texts, and corrected typescript drafts for nearly all of Theroux's 51 books, as well as extensive and significant correspondence from the Nobel Prize-winning novelist V.S. Naipaul and many other writers, including Graham Greene, S.J. Perelman, Nadine Gordimer, Margaret Drabble, Iris Murdoch, Stephen Spender, Gore Vidal, Laurens van der Post, Jan Morris, William Styron, and Bruce Chatwin. "One of the most accomplished and worldly-wise writers of his generation" (The Times, London). Paul Theroux lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

Paul Theroux's website

This bio was last updated on 09/27/2019. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Interview

Read an interview with Paul Theroux in which he discusses his recent travels through Africa, his views on foreign aid, and his hopes for Africa's future.

You taught in Africa in the early 1960s. Why did you decide to return after almost 40 years?
Since leaving Africa in October 1968 I thought of the places I had worked, the people I had known, and the hope we all had. I constantly thought: What happened? I longed to return, and I thought I would do it in the year I turned 60. My book represents one man’s road. Another person could take the same trip and would have different experiences. That’s a truism, of course. This trip was special to me—because the road was in part Memory Lane—and because I loved the challenges. There is nothing in the world more vitalizing to me that traveling in the African bush.

It is wonderful for a teacher to meet a former student and see that he or she is gainfully employed—perhaps as a teacher; and is a responsible parent and homeowner. This happened to me in Malawi and Uganda—wonderful memories. My old friend Apolo Nsibambi—we used to drink and argue in the 1960s—is now Prime Minister of Uganda. I loved seeing him after 30 years. The passage of time is more dramatic in Africa—amazing to witness its effects, for I first set foot there in 1963, which was another age altogether.
...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Paul Theroux at BookBrowse
On the Plain of Snakes jacket Deep South jacket Mr. Bones jacket The Last Train to Zona Verde jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Paul Theroux but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Anna Badkhen

    Anna Badkhen

    Anna Badkhen has spent much of her life in the Global South. Her immersive investigations of the world's iniquities have yielded six books of nonfiction, most recently The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Dark Star Safari

    Try:
    Fisherman's Blues
    by Anna Badkhen

  • Greg Behrman

    Greg Behrman

    reg Behrman is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of NationSwell. NationSwell is a digital media company focused on American renewal. The team identifies the new American innovators and pioneers who are doing the most ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Dark Star Safari

    Try:
    The Invisible People
    by Greg Behrman

We recommend 15 similar authors

View all 15 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: If I Survive You
    If I Survive You
    by Jonathan Escoffery
    In If I Survive You, author Jonathan Escoffery portrays a family falling apart with grace. Main ...
  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.