Figures in a Landscape
"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.