Archive - November 3, 2014

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Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play, Part III

Rereading Paul Theroux's (Malawi 1963-65) Girls At Play, Part III

What strikes me now rereading Girls At Play is how Theroux did not linger with prose on the beauty of Africa, as he has quite wonderfully uses his evocative skills in other books and essays. In those early books he does not wax and wane as RPCV writers tend to do (including myself) on descriptions of the landscape. In those three novels, he was more interested in the play of personalities in Africa than the lay of the land. Theroux’s third novel on Africa is Jungle Lovers which focuses on Malawi, looking at the changing political and social climate of the country. It came about because of what happened to him when he was teaching at the university in Kampala. “Jungle Lovers was the result of my departure from Africa,” Paul writes. “In 1968, after five years in Malawi and Uganda, my wife and I were attacked by rioting students . . .

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