Sesh's Reviews > The Lower River

The Lower River by Paul Theroux
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's review
Jul 01, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 10 to July 01, 2012

I finished the book, so it should get either a 4 star or a 5 star. It gets 4 because I felt Theroux could have done better. The story is set in Malawi, familiar territory to which Theroux returns (he was there as a Peace Corps volunteer in the 60s) much like his lead character who seeks salvation in the enchanted Africa of his youthful memories, after his wife divorces him in Medford, Massachusetts. (Theroux was raied in Medford, MA!) What follows is nothing like what our solace seeker imagined. The village in Malawi seems to have not changed in the forty years that he had been away. But he discovers in due time that things have changed indeed, experiencing it in a way that strips him of everything he has, in matter and in spirit. I am avid reader of Theroux's travel books, which are fantastic. I have attempted to read a couple of his novels before (he has written several) and haven't found them to be anywhere near as captivating as his travel writing, but "The Lower River" is powerful for its honesty.

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