Sarah's Reviews > The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux
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Apr 24, 11


I read this book as part of a class on the American Novel. We were focusing specifically on travel novels and how American writers depict Americans abroad and their interactions with the novel. That said, this was one of my favorite books we read this semester.

The Mosquito Coast is about Allie Fox, an inventor living in the Northeastern US with his wife and four kids, only he's completely dissatisified with America (and God and everything, basically). He moves his family to Hondoras to help them escape the evils of capitalism and democracy. He talks at length about the trouble America is in and how it's going to destroy itself. At the same time, however, he introduces the native of the Hondoran jungle to the very things he left behind.

The novel is narrated by Fox's oldest son, Charlie, who's old enough to know that his dad is screwing things up for them, but not old enough to do anything about it. Through Charlie's eyes, we see the complex mind of his father as he attempts to build a utopia for him family. And we see everything Fox tries to build collapse and fail over and over again.

The book is psychologically fascinating. At once, you're both intriguied and repulsed by Allie Fox and the things he does to his family. You have a similar relationship with his wife--who is only ever referred to as Mother in the book. You hate her for sticking by Allie but you respect her dedication to her children and you can understand (sort of) her relationship with her husband.
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