Paul Theroux

Fresh air fiend : travel writings, 1985-2000

Houghton Mifflin

Boston, 2000
bibliothèque insulaire
N.E. of America

parutions 2000

Fresh air fiend : travel writings, 1985-2000 / Paul Theroux. - Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2000. - IX-466 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN 0-618-03406-4
NOTE DE L'ÉDITEUR :  In this remarkable collection of essays and articles written over the last fifteen years, Paul Theroux demonstrates how the traveling life and the writing life are intimately connected. Not simply an escape from the mundane, travel has always been a creative act for Theroux. His journeys in remote hinterlands and crowded foreign capitals provide the necessary perspective to « become a stranger » in order to discover the self. Wonderfully broad in scope, thought, and feeling, Fresh Air Fiend touches down on all five continents and floats through most of the seas in between. From the crisp quiet of a solitary week spent in the snow-bound Maine woods, to the expectant chaos of Hong Kong on the eve of the Hand-over, to a small Pacific island where atomic bombs were detonated, Theroux is the perfect guide — casually informative, keenly observant, wry, and entertaining. As Time has written, Theroux « serves as both the camera and the eye, and both the details and the illusions are developed with brilliance ». He also reaches back into his past to tell of his earliest ventures into Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, treats us to insightful readings of his favorite travel books, and reveals the fascinating stories behind some of his own. Fresh Air Fiend is a companion volume to Theroux's earlier, much beloved Sunrise with Seamonsters, but this is his first collection devoted completely to travel writing, for which the author of such classics as The Great Railway Bazaar and Riding the Iron Rooster is justly famous. Traveling with Theroux is a literary adventure of the first order, never a languid luxury cruise, always an insightful journey to the heart and soul of a place and its people. Fresh Air Fiend is the ultimate good read for anyone fascinated by travel in the wider world or curious about the life of one of our most passionate travelers.
PERRY GARFINKEL : To Paul Theroux, the travel writer […] the appeal of island life is elemental. « An island isn't just the land, » he said. « It's also all the water that surrounds it. People who land on islands and don't swim or boat don't appreciate islands. The Phoenicians thought that every day spent on water was a day not subtracted from the end of your life. »

Theroux's latest book, « Fresh Air Fiend, » […] includes an essay about paddling his kayak across Nantucket Sound to Martha's Vineyard. « Islands are such salubrious places, » he said. « It's no mystery why one goes from one salubrious place to another. It's a much bigger mystery why people go to big cities. »

« Islands call to them, summer, winter and always », The New York Times | January 30, 2000 [en ligne]
  • « Les îles heureuses d'Océanie : le Pacifique à la pagaie », Paris : Grasset, 1993
  • « Les colonnes d'Hercule : voyage autour de la Méditerranée », Paris : Grasset, 1997
  • « Hotel Honolulu », Paris : Grasset, 2002
  • « Retour au Palazzo d'Oro », Paris : Grasset, 2005
  • Daniel Defoe, « Robinson Crusoe » with an introduction by Paul Theroux, New York : Signet classics, 2008

mise-à-jour : 5 mai 2019