Archive - May 19, 2012

NYTIMES Reviews Theroux's The Lower River

NYTIMES Reviews Theroux's The Lower River

The Sunday New York Times Book Review section on May 20, 2012,  has a review of Paul Theroux’s (Malawi 1963-65) novel, The Lower River. Reviewer Patrick McGrath sums up: The Lower River is riveting in its storytelling and provocative in its depiction of this African backwater, infusing both with undertones of slavery and cannibalism, savagery and disease. Theroux exposes the paternalism of Hock’s Peace Corps nostalgia, his “sense of responsibility, almost the conceit of ownership.” That sense of responsibility, and Hock’s modest contribution to the welfare of a people he was once genuinely fond of, has been replaced by a harsher mode of operation, run by hardhearted contractors living apart in impregnable compounds. “I have to leave,” Hock pleads. “I’m going home.” To which the village headman replies, with chilling menace, “This is your home, father.”

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