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The Mosquito Coast

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,929 Ratings  ·  482 Reviews

In a breathtaking adventure story, the paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they've left. Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life. But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions le

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Hardcover, 374 pages
Published January 1st 1982 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jen
Mar 07, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars-or-more
An overzealous father uproots his family in the middle of the night to leave America, with only their clothes on their back, to journey to the deep jungles of Honduras. Here he has grandiose hopes to build a radical new civilization in which he is the leader of. Although a brilliant inventor, he is both paranoid and manic and the journey that transpires is both disastrous and dangerous, putting his family at risk. The story is taken from the perspective of his eldest son, Charlie, who throughout ...more
Andrew Smith
Dec 13, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a hard book to categorise, this one: coming-of-age yarn, adventure story, literary fiction? Well, in truth, all of the above. I’d read one of the author’s renowned travel books (which I thoroughly enjoyed) but this was my first experience of his fiction. And a pretty good experience it turned out to be.

Allie Fox is an engineer, an inventor and a bombastic know-it-all. Fed up with America – it’s fast food, television, religion and pretty much everything else – he surprises his family one day
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Sometimes you just have to say, this is not the book for me. I could plow through it for the sake of my book club, but why put myself through 3 or 4 hours of angst and misery, reading about a wildly dysfunctional family trying to create their own utopia in the jungles of the Honduras?

In an intellectual way I appreciate that the father, Allie Fox, is an amazing character, but he's just painful for me to read about. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard. He pursues one scheme after another, with
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Manny
Mar 07, 2013 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do research in spoken language technology, building software that people can talk to. Right now, our main project is an app that lets beginning language students practice their speaking skills; if you're interested, you can find out more here. We have been working on it for about three and half years, and so far we don't really know if it's a good idea or not. We get mixed messages from the people who have tried it out. Some of them are enthusiastic and say it's really improved their French or ...more
Brad
Dec 28, 2009 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Theroux understands fathers and sons like few authors I have read, but I still struggle with Allie Fox's descent into madness. Part of me feels that we are supposed to struggle with his descent, to feel pity and empathy for him, but part of me feels that I am expected to feel anger and hate towards him -- things I do not and can not.

Whether this is the failure of the author or the reader is beyond me, but it is enough to drop this book out of my true favorites (and it was one of my favouri
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Agnieszka

Hell is - the other people .

But really ?
When everything’s going wrong one may like Zorba tell “that’s nothing to worry about “ or like Scarlett “I’ll think of it tomorrow “ or jack everything in and set off to look for promise land. And so Allie does .

Allie Fox , handyman and gifted inventor , disappointed with America, disgusted with consumer ,corporate or whatsoever lifestyle , out of the blue , packs his family and set off to Honduran jungle .





But let’s not be mislead by this idyllic picture.
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Clif Hostetler
Jun 08, 2014 Clif Hostetler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This is a popular book from the early 1980's that I never got around to reading until now. It's the first book by Paul Theroux that I've read. It's my understanding that he first became famous for his travelogue "The Great Railway Bazaar (1975)." He's written a number of novels since and most (maybe all) are fictionalized travelogues by having their characters end up in some exotic and isolated corner of the world. That's certainly the case with this book.

This story evolves around a man who is
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Patrick Gibson
It’s not the craziness and hypocrisy of American evangelical Christians and other nuts building utopias, or realizing their personal dreams among the ignorant and poor peoples of the under-developed world, but writing descriptions of rare sights:

"It sank [an outboard engine:] into the weeds and began bleeding rainbows."

of nature:

"The howler monkeys were drumming in the thunder rumble across the black lagoon, and the rains boom and crackle made a deep cave of the earth and filled the sky with
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Marvin
Aug 08, 2012 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Allie Fox is a genius, a fool, a loving father, a madman, a dreamer, and a selfish SOB. He is sort of Don Quixote's evil twin. Both Don Quixote and Allie Fox pursued noble dreams but Quizote didn't imperil his entire family in doing so. But it isn't just the character of Allie Fox that makes The Mosquito Coast such a riveting and brilliant novel. It is the interaction with his his family as they struggle to understand this brilliant but insane man. The book reads like an adventure; an adventure ...more
Robert
Mar 22, 2008 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Христо Блажев
Човек срещу природата – но и срещу себе си: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/b...

Досега с Пол Теру се бяхме срещали само в “Улица “Полумесец”, но тя не ми помогна с нищичко за книгата, която ме очакваше. “Брегът на москитите” ми направи впечатление още с излизането си заради връзките с “Повелителят на мухите” на Голдинг, но сега, няколко дни след като я прочетох – трябваше ми време да я осмисля – си мисля, че това не е точната връзка. Да, и тук има отхвърляне на цивилизацията и извеждане на ф
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Anastasia
Although I agree with some of the views of the protagonist's father, I find the character so obnoxious that I don't even know if I can read any more.
Lyn Fuchs
Feb 05, 2013 Lyn Fuchs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Setting off on a big international trip, I asked an eighty-year-old man with the reputation of being a wise counselor for his input on my destination options. I was obsessing over this decision. He responded, "The place doesn't matter, because wherever you go, there you'll be." He was hinting at the annoying truth that my character, not places or circumstances, was hindering my spiritual journey. He was absolutely right.

Paul Theroux wrote a classic book on heading for parts remote with spiritual
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Ruth
Jul 03, 2012 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny, funny book.

Well, that was my review the first time I read it. Now, after a reread some 20 years later, I wonder why I didn't pick up on what was really going on with the father. This time it was clear to me, and gave the book, despite its comedic moments, a sense of ever-increasing dread.
Christine Boyer
Dec 03, 2013 Christine Boyer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I'm quitting. So keep that in mind with regard to my 1 star rating. I got half way through and this was the last section I read: "Then the darkness, which was like fathoms of ink, softened, became finely gray, and, without revealing anything more of the sea, turned to powder. All around us the powdery dawn thickened, until, growing coarser and ashy, in a sunrise without sun, it threw us glimpses of the soapy sea and the shoreline and the jungle heaped like black rags of kelp." OMG! I can't ...more
Rachel
Apr 02, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I always have the same reaction to Paul Theroux; I'm impressed with his artistry, but the world-view he presents (at least in his fiction -- I haven't read any of his travel writing) is so bleak that I'm left feeling fairly depressed. The Mosquito Coast was no different in this regard.

Allie Fox is best described as a cult leader, but his followers are merely his wife and his four children. The story is narrated by Charlie, who at 14 is his oldest child, and begins with the family living on an a
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Randy
Aug 31, 2009 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Re-reading . . . how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love the guaranteed happiness (how often does one get that?); I love meeting old friends and familiar enemies; and oh, how I love the anticipation of coloring in the faintly remembered.

Truly-addicted readers have books to which they repeatedly return; we become so entranced by an author’s words we even hope (in bouts of the truest example of suspension of disbelief) that perhaps this time, if we read very slowly, or very carefully, o
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Staci
Jul 12, 2012 Staci rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone calls this an adventure book. I guess I never thought to classify mental illness and the abuse of a family as 'adventure.' A man leaves the United States on his belief that it is all unraveling around him and that the only way to save himself and his family is to lead them into isolation in the Honduran rainforest. He is an inventor and a genius but the only thing unraveling is his mind. I was more than halfway through this book before anything 'happened.' Until that point, the story wa ...more
Liz
Aug 05, 2012 Liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I hate Paul Theroux with a passion. I had to read this 'book' for year 11 and it was so painful that instead of reading the last quarter of the book I borrowed the Harrison Ford movie and wrote my essay based on the movie.....I guess they both ended the same because I got a good mark for my essay.

I don't know whether it was the characters that I hated or just the whole storyline, but all I know was that I was glad when his boat house sank...?? Did it sink?? Or did the son shoot the father or am
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Jenneffer
Jul 15, 2014 Jenneffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know a book is really good when it makes you mad. Anger is one of the strongest emotions. The fury I felt at an imagined character has tickled something I need to explore. The antagonist of this novel, Allie Fox, or Father, as he is most commonly referred, is quite the inventor. As a strong patriarch, Father has a larger than life presence over everyone; his family most notably. Charlie, his eldest son, the protagonist, first reveres then comes to despise him. After being bullied and drug th ...more
Elyse
Dec 31, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book years ago! (Before being a member of Goodreads) Fabulous!

A friend sent it to be 'to read'! I AGREE!
Brad Lyerla
Allie Fox is a brilliant, but eccentric inventor. He takes his family from rural New England to the Mosquito Coast of Honduras to live away from the crass commercialism of late 20th Century America. (THE MOSQUITO COAST was published in the early 1980s). At first he succeeds swimmingly and against formidable odds. He builds a settlement in a jungle that is prosperous, clean and self-sufficient enough support his family of six and his neighbors in comfort. But while pursuing a nutty scheme to show ...more
Chana
The only Paul Theroux I had read before was a non-fiction travel diary called The Happy Isles of Oceania. I was surprised to open this and find it was fiction. And very strange fiction.

This is a story of a brilliant but mentally ill man. He has a genius for mechanics and invention, but he is sure that the United States has become a destroyed society destined for war. He states a lot of current political truths and feelings but magnified into a paranoia that results in him taking his family (wife
...more
Jade
Sep 15, 2010 Jade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
There can be no argument that this book is not brilliantly contrived and written. Theroux creates a vast range of characters, with each ones own depth being interlinked and interchangable with that of Allie, the father and centre of this novel. The novel is portrayed through the eye's of the eldest son, Charlie and shows his relationship with his father moving from awe inspiring to hatred and fear. I think that the surroundings in which this book is set where imaginatively woven and really broug ...more
Shawn Davis
Allie Fox - Father - thinks America is focused on the wrong things and on the verge of annihilation. With no explanation to his family he moves them to Honduras.

Not that anyone in his family knows where they are going - Father makes them leave everything in their snug house and puts them on a boat where they find out their destination from the other passengers.

Father doesn't believe in school education. Father thinks the best place for his family is in the middle of nowhere, building their own s
...more
Michaelmonson84
I really, really wanted to like this book since I have a lot in common with the subject (i.e., I picked my family up and moved them to a foreign location, although not in such dramatic fashion). But at the end of the day, I just couldn't get emotionally invested in it and I think the reason is that in the book, everyone gets pretty much what they deserve. There is no sense of real injustice, no undeserved obstacles to overcome. The dad's nuts and crazy and gets what he deserves in the end. The m ...more
Peter Wolfley
Oct 29, 2012 Peter Wolfley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about the dangers of monomania and pride. Allie Fox is basically Captain Ahab reborn as an inventor with a real bone to pick with American society and culture. This was an incredibly engaging book and would be a good read for both those looking to think and those looking to be entertained.

I always tell my wife that I want to sell everything and move to Australia, raise sheep, and live the simple life. This novel made me reconsider my dream. In America we love to romanticize the s
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Nomanisan
Mar 27, 2008 Nomanisan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(read date is a BIG guess--which most of my "read" dates are, so take them with a grain of salt; I am a CRS sufferer)
When I read this book many years ago, I was convinced Theroux was the new great writer. His use of symbolism and foreshadowing is marvelously well-done: smooth, simply a part of the story-telling until one stops to examine it. His story-telling is superb, his characterization beautifully (and at times painfully) real, and his message timely even today. Though I have read nothing e
...more
Bxrlover
This was one of the worst books I have ever read. Not sure how it became a "classic". Aside from the paranoid, dellusional, egomaniacal father, the characters are very poorly developed. So much so that I didn't care one way or another what happened to them.

The premise was good, very similar to The Poisonwood Bible, but the story just fell flat.
I have very little patience for stories in which the mother passivley allows the tyrannical father to terrorize the family.

Erica M
This was an okay novel for the most part. There was good contrast between the characters, and nice development as well. However, the beginning was slow, and a bit hard to get into. I found that the father was kind of difficult to like. I kept hoping that later on in the novel he would change his ways and I might begin to like him, but it just became worse and I despised him almost as much as his own son's. The middle of the novel had me quite interested and intrigued When the family settled into ...more
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Paul Edward Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work is The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), a travelogue about a trip he made by train from Great Britain through Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, through South Asia, then South-East Asia, up through East Asia, as far east as Japan, and then back across Russia to his point of origin. Although perhaps best know ...more
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“I guessed it was a migratory bird, too innocent to be wary of the spiders in the jungle grass. It worried be to think that we were a little like that bird” 2 likes
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” 0 likes
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