Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads by Paul Theroux

Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads

byPaul Theroux

Kobo ebook | September 3, 2015

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Acclaimed and beloved travel writer Paul Theroux turns his attention to his own country - America - for the first time in Deep South

For the past fifty years, Paul Theroux has travelled to the far corners of the earth - to China, India, Africa, the Pacific Islands, South America, Russia, and elsewhere - and brought them to life in his cool, exacting prose. In Deep South he turns his gaze to a region much closer to his home.

Travelling through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, Paul Theroux writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers - the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi - and above all, the lives of the people he meets.

The South is a place of contradictions. There is the warm, open spirit of the soul food cafes, found in every town, no matter how small. There is the ruined grandeur of numberless ghostly towns, long abandoned by the industries that built them. There are the state gun shows, populated by a close-knit and subtly forlorn tribe of peoples. In the depths of his native country, Theroux discovers a land more profoundly foreign than anything he has previously experienced.

Title:Deep South: Four Seasons on Back RoadsFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:September 3, 2015Publisher:Penguin Books LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0241969360

ISBN - 13:9780241969366

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful literary experience The South has always interested me. With such a vast array of opinions and literature from there, I had no idea where I wanted to start. This book caught my eye, I gave it a chance and from there I was hooked. A beautifully grounded experience peppered with humour and a whole lot of honesty, this book is a gem. I could not recommend it enough. A must have for the adventurer in us!
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ah mo tell ya'll a story Paul Theroux has spent some five decades traveling around and writing about the world, often alternating between novels (e.g. The Mosquito Coast) and travel literature (e.g. The Happy Isles of Oceania). However, the only time he’s written about traveling in America, to my knowledge, was in the first part of The Old Patagonian Express (1979), where he chugs from Boston to the Mexican border on his way to Central and South America. In 2012-3, properly ensconced as the godfather of travel writing (debatably the best; undeniably the most prolific), Theroux explores the southern United States, aspects of which he finds nearly as exotic and bizarre as features of India or Africa. To start, we get a rationale and something of a literature review: summaries of American travel narratives, with praise, and a criticism of what Theroux calls the mock ordeal. Writers often groan about the agonies of traveling in the USA, even on excellent highways and in first-world conditions, so the narrator indicates he’ll be skipping his imagined tribulation to examine the lives of everyday people. The author wants to talk to the “submerged twenty percent,” folks obscured by the smallness of their southern towns, while exploring topics he finds intriguing: racism, poverty, inequality, gun culture, slavery, college football, religion, violence, identity, hospitality, and so on. Theroux’s a keen ethnographer, and perhaps because he’s in an English-speaking country – his own – he does something he often doesn’t do in his other travelogues: he lets plenty of people speak, so we get a spectrum of views on a wide range of topics; plus snippets of history, Paul’s trademark flare for description and humour, and references to everything from psychology to anthropology – all rendered in an erudite, yet breezy and accessible style. Indeed, the writing is beautiful: crisp and fresh albeit seemingly pre-existing, as if the writer has discovered these stories etched into panels of marble and just dusted away the grit and debris so we can see what was hiding underneath. And the book does what it’s supposed to: takes you along for the ride. I’ve read ten of Paul Theroux’s travel books, and would rate Deep South as among his best. Troy Parfitt is the author of War Torn: Adventures in the Brave New Canada
Date published: 2015-09-30