Archive - April 24, 2011

Paul Theroux’s Novels of Africa

Paul Theroux’s Novels of Africa

My recent blog on novels that featured ‘Peace Corps fictional characters’ has generated some interest in novels written by RPCVs with Peace Corps characters. And that, naturally, leads us to Paul Theroux (Malawi 1963-65). Theroux’s first three novels were set in Africa: Fong and the Indians (1968); Girls at Play (1969); Jungle Lovers (1971). Years later the books were combined into a single edition from Penguin (1996) and published as On The Edge of the Great Rift: Three Novels of Africa. In the Preface to this volume, Theroux writes: “At the age of twenty-two, hoping to avoid being drafted into the US army, but also wishing to see the world, I joined the Peace Corps. When I went to Malawi in 1963 it was called the Nyasaland Protectorate.” After the Peace Corps and his ‘dismissal,” which he has written about elsewhere, he went to Uganda and signed a four-year contract to teach at Makerere . . .

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