“I was intrigued by his book about walking around the coast of England over a three-month period in 1982.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
I have read Paul Theroux’s travel articles in “Smithsonian” magazine, but confess to never having read his fiction. I was intrigued by his book about walking around the coast of England over a three-month period in 1982.
What a disappointment.
I was hoping to learn more about my mother-in-law’s birthplace in order to share this book w/ her, but she would take high dudgeon at Theroux’s description of the seashore all around her home, and his descriptions about the various British inhabitants and visitors thereof.
Theroux’s walk coincides w/ the short Falklands War between the UK and Argentina, basically over a sheep farm. Anyway, Theroux obviously didn’t like the war or the way the British people responded to it. He was also highly disillusioned at how ruined and past its prime everything looked, seemingly like an old Countess wearing moth-eaten clothing b/c she’s dirt poor but still has her haughty pride!
He goes on and on about the ruined cities, which he tried to avoid, and the death of the British railway system (I thought he was walking everywhere? What’s he doing on trains?). He gets REALLY repetitive quickly when complaining about the trains. The only time he seems to like what he sees is when is in the far-north of Great Britain, on the North Sea in Scotland. It is poor as well, w/ sad stories about the Clearances, but at least he finds it beautiful. “Outlander” fans (including me!) would appreciate that he seemed to prefer the Scottish coast the most.
Maybe if you don’t mind the author’s navel-gazing, constant allusions to writers no one has read, and self-congratulation over the extended tour, you would enjoy the book. My MIL wouldn’t, nor probably any other citizen of the UK.
Added 15th October 2019