Theroux is a celebrated novelist and author, winning numerous prizes for his work over the years. Theroux’ work spans fiction and non-fiction, often following Theroux or his characters on journeys to new and far flung places. The travellers in Theroux’ books, whether real or not, often discover something new and unknown about themselves as much as the landscape around them, making for informative and compelling reading.
Here, we’ve compiled a selection of Theroux’ best works from travel journals to novels.
The first collection of essays and articles from this beloved travel writer, Fresh Air Fiend is a joyous read. Journeying through five continents and taking the reader across oceans, the book is an imaginative literary adventure. Theroux captures perfectly the atmosphere and wonder of the places he visits, from Maine to Hong Kong and beyond.
The Tao of Travel examines what drives us to travel, and what one can do to get the most from one’s travels. Partly a retrospective, partly an exploration of travel writing itself, the book shares Theroux’ thoughts on his years travelling, thinking and publishing.
The Lower River shares the fictional journey of Ellis Hock, who returns to Africa when his wife leaves him. Hock hopes to find happiness once more, but is faced with a bleaker reality. A novel exploring the nature of memory and desire, despair and desperation, The Lower River is a compelling read.
Theroux is brilliant for his ability to switch from personal account to fiction between every book he writers. In The Elephanta Suite, readers can enjoy three intertwined novellas following travellers who have come from the West to experience India. Through the eyes of his inexperienced characters, Theroux delves into contemporary India in all its beauty and tumult.
Theroux brings a dry humour to this exploration of Thatcher’s Britain. Journeying around Britain’s coastal perimeter, Theroux documents the variety of interesting characters he meets in all their idiosyncrasy. Showing us some of Britain’s remotest locations through the eyes of a newcomer, The Kingdom By The Sea captures Britain in a unique cultural moment during the summer of the war in the Falklands.
Another of Theroux’s fabulous novels, The Mosquito Coast sees inventor, Allie Fox travel to Honduras with his family in search of a better life. Leaving America, which Fox sees as being enraptured by commercialism and conformity, he hopes to lead a simpler existence. However, Fox’s ideas of a utopia are quickly upturned as danger threatens his family.