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Under the Wave at Waimea

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  14 reviews
“Theroux’s work is like no one else’s.” –Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review

From legendary writer Paul Theroux comes an atmospheric novel following a big-wave surfer as he confronts aging, privilege, mortality, and whose lives we choose to remember.

Now in his sixties, big-wave surfer Joe Sharkey has passed his prime and is losing his “stoke.” The younger surfers ar
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 13th 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Andrew Smith
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Joe Sharkey is a big wave surfer. At sixty two maybe his best days are behind him, but when he wakes every day his first thought is still to check out how the waves are today, and living on Hawaii’s North Shore he’s in the perfect spot to take advantage of any opportunity to wax his board and get in amongst them . He can throw his board on top of his car for a quick drive to the beach or if he feels like it he can even put it under his arm and walk there, it’s close enough. The waves here can be ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
Getting an ARC of this book!
Apr 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
An ageing surfer in Hawaii. A man who has spent his whole life living for surfing, on an endless quest for the biggest, the perfect wave. Bullied at school as a child for being a “haole”, a white boy, he finds his refuge and his safety in the surf. Famous for a while, he’s now facing increasing irrelevance as his place is taken by younger surfers, many of whom haven't even heard of him. And then things get even harder to handle when an accident challenges his sense of self-worth and his whole wa ...more
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The life of Hawaiian surfer Joe Sharkey is put under the microscope by Paul Theroux in (if my count is correct) his 60-somethingth book. Across three sections, Theroux starts with the 60-something Shark still a surfing legend on the North Shore of Oahu but losing his mojo (and possibly his memory), then goes into his backstory as a bullied army brat who finds peace and release in the water on a surfboard, and finally chronicles his transformation after a life-changing event.

If you're a Theroux r
Mark Walker
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer, Paul Theroux, and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book, which will be available in mid-April. Initially, I was unenthusiastic about reading about the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading “On the Plain of Snakes” about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for ove ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
This just kept plodding along. I think there might have been a decent story buried in there somewhere, but I feel like some major editing is needed (especially for the middle part that went back to Joe's younger years). This was probably 1.5 stars for me, rounded up as I liked the descriptions of Hawaii.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Brittney Chabot
Feb 05, 2021 rated it liked it
I could not get through the e-book version provided by NetGalley. I wanted to enjoy the story but have decided that e-reading is impossible for me so I will update this review when it is released.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux is a highly recommended novel, especially for the right reader, of aging, mortality, but, most importantly, big-wave surfing.

Joe Sharkey is a legendary big-wave surfer who is now in his sixties and past his prime. Although there are some new, young surfers who realize who he is and recall his many incredible feats on the surfing circuit around the world, increasingly more of them don't recognize Sharkey. Sharkey still checks out the wave forecast and trie
Jeff Matlow
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Paul Theroux is a very prolific writer - mostly a travel writer. I’ve heard of him but never read his books until this one - Under The Wave at Waimea.

Wow it was good. Really tough to put down.

The story is about Joe Sharkey, accomplished big wave surfer who is past his prime. He’s in his 60s, never married, angry at the world, narcissistic. The book takes you through his life, how he became who he was and then leads to an incident in which Da Shark is forced to confront himself.

Set on a backdr
Feb 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This latest novel from Paul Theroux reads like a biography, the fictional biography of Joe Sharkey, a 62 year old man who has given his entire life to surfing at the cost of neglecting everything else around him. It is a very emotional piece of fiction from an American master. A powerful testament to human resilience and an ode to the beauty and the fragility of Hawaii. The reader will follow Sharkey as he struggles to overcome a bitter existential crisis and recapture a sense of normalcy in his ...more
Nelda Brangwin
Apr 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
When Joe Sharkey, surfing superstar, accidently kills a homeless man with his car he looks back on his life. Arriving in Hawaii at the age of 10 with his father, a special forces colonel stationed there during the Vietnam War, Sharkey remembers being bullied as a “haole.” He credits a native Hawaiian surfer for his survival. Becoming professional surfer, he travels the world. As he reminisces, his girlfriend and he travel to Arkansas and California to find out more about the man he killed. Thero ...more
Zachary Houle
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As I age, I find that I prefer my anonymity. I’ve tasted fame, a little bit of it, and have to admit that it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be — people, it seems, just want to pull you down off the pedestal, so fame is incredibly exhausting to maintain if you want to be viewed with any dose of positivity. The protagonist in Paul Theroux’s latest novel, Under the Wave at Waimea, has the opposite problem, though. Joe Sharkey is a 62-year-old surfer from Hawaii, and he is struggling to retain his re ...more
Chris Gager
Apr 13, 2021 rated it liked it
The cover picture is phoney baloney(in more than one way), as any surfer would see right away.
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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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