Drawing together a fascinating body of writing from over 14 years of work, Figures in a Landscape ranges from profiles of cultural icons (Oliver Sacks, Elizabeth Taylor, Robin Williams) to intimate personal remembrances, from thrilling adventures in Africa to literary writings from Theroux's rich and expansive personal reading.
Collectively these pieces offer a fascinating portrait of the author himself, his extraordinary life and his restless and ever-curious mind. Figures in a Landscape is an essential addition to the wide-ranging Theroux canon, bound together by an extended mediation on the craft of writing itself and driven by Theroux's constant quest for the authentic in a person or in a place.
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- Nicky Ramone
Great variety of topics.... mostly very interesting
I pedantically removed one star for the narrator’s performance for his embarrassing pronunciation of “Tsvangirai” in one of the chapters about Zimbabwe, and one other place where an attemped accent jarred a little but it was otherwise very well narrated.
Paul Theroux’s book covering a wide variety of topics, reminiscences and opinions was excellent. Some chapters were scholarly and sounded so, others were light and entertaining, some regarding for example his hitch-hike to Amherst was very well told and had a number of nice twists. The chapter about his family and his father was very interesting and despite the light touch, carried a lot of emotional power. That’s what I thought anyway. I have read many of Mr. Theroux’s books, often like he says of his days in Malawi, serendipitously finding then in second hand shops or leave one-take one bookshelves in a café in Maputo, feeling they were left there, sent there for me. Once I left one almost finished on the bus from Blantyre to Harare. Mr. Theroux’s talk of Africa rings true (I arrived twenty years after he did) and his opinions and insights on literature are engrossing and thought-provoking. I was very glad I bought it.
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