HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Lower River by Paul Theroux
Loading...

The Lower River

by Paul Theroux

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
180865,840 (3.65)4
Recently added byNCStateHonors, private library, RNabstedt, ElisabeteRosa, bferran, Opusnight, libq

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
With great clarity, in The Lower River, Paul Theroux achingly depicts a region of Africa that is both dependent and resentful of the aid of NGO’s, celebrities, and former Peace Corps do-gooders like the novel’s protagonist, Ellis Hock. Unfortunately, when independence follows colonization, what remains are cynicism, corruption, and greed – all in the name of self survival. In the end, everyone is the poorer and the Africa of one’s dreams becomes a nightmare. The reader is left wondering if the best policy is to leave the indigenous cultures alone but then that would be adding insult to injury. Such is the paradox as there can be no atoning for the sins of empires. ( )
  lukespapa | Feb 10, 2014 |
bookshelves: published-2012, fraudio, afr-malawi, autumn-2013, african-continent, lit-richer, midlife-crisis
Read from October 26 to 27, 2013



Moooove along now folks; nothing to see here. It only kept me to the end because I was tied up in other things.

3* Dark Star Safari
2* The Mosquito Coast
3* Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
3* Fresh Air Fiend
2* The White Man's Burden
1.5* The Lower River ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
Ellis Hock seems a little dimwitted going back to the African town he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer. Thinking all would be the same from where he left off years ago was a rude awakening placing him in a dangerous situation that did intensify as the book progressed. Left me with a feeling of "what were you thinking about" when you planned this trip. ( )
  EasyEd | Jul 18, 2013 |
This was terrifying. It begins with the banality of a life lived quietly in the Boston suburbs and leads to a nostalgic trip back to the Africa of the narrator's Peace Corp youth. There is first world hubris ..but it is not the entire issue here. Sentimentality also plays a big part in the downturn of events. Did I enjoy the book? No. Did it make me think? Yes. Did it make me squirm? A big yes. ( )
  suniru | May 19, 2013 |
Initially I was very intrigued by the prospect of following middle-aged protagonist Ellis Hock's return to central Africa 40 years after experiencing the time of his life (at least as viewed in the retrospective haze of Hock's those-were-the-days, I-was-the-man memories which he harbored while sleep-walking through an ordinary and unexciting adulthood) as a young Peace Corps volunteer.

With Hock's return to Malawi, my interest dulled as Theroux's engaging storytelling briefly assumed the stiffness of a National Geographic know-it-all travelogue. Fortunately, once Hock reached his erstwhile home village of Malabo, ambiguity and chance took and kept the stage. Hock's complex, symbiotic relationships with the locals, his journey of doubt, purpose, and self-awareness, and plain old unexpected, exotic twists of plot earned back and kept my attention.

Why Hock stayed in Malabo for more than about three days, though, I couldn't fathom, because he seemed pretty miserable once the brief initial glow of his Hero's Welcome wore off; but his poor choice, however implausible, made for a far better story.

Overall, I thought The Lower River was a decently-written and worthwhile read . ( )
  EpicTale | Nov 27, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547746504, Hardcover)

Ellis Hock never believed that he would return to Africa. He runs an old-fashioned menswear store in a small town in Massachusetts but still dreams of his Eden, the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, cut short when he had to return to take over the family business. When his wife leaves him, and he is on his own, he realizes that there is one place for him to go: back to his village in Malawi, on the remote Lower River, where he can be happy again.

Arriving at the dusty village, he finds it transformed: the school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people. They remember him—the White Man with no fear of snakes—and welcome him. But is his new life, his journey back, an escape or a trap?

Interweaving memory and desire, hope and despair, salvation and damnation, this is a hypnotic, compelling, and brilliant return to a terrain about which no one has ever written better than Theroux.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:04 -0400)

Ellis Hock never believed that he would return to Africa. He runs an old-fashioned menswear store in a small town in Massachusetts but still dreams of his Eden, the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, cut short when he had to return to take over the family business. When his wife leaves him, and he is on his own, he realizes that there is one place for him to go: back to his village in Malawi, on the remote Lower River, where he can be happy again. Arriving at the dusty village, he finds it transformed: the school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people. They remember him--the White Man with no fear of snakes--and welcome him. But is his new life, his journey back, an escape or a trap?… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
104 wanted2 pay1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.65)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 6
2.5 1
3 7
3.5 8
4 14
4.5 1
5 10

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,359,052 books! | Top bar: Always visible