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Blinding Light by Paul Theroux
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Blinding Light (2005)

by Paul Theroux

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Showing 4 of 4
Unusual novel with a mysterious spider and it goes full circle. ( )
  captom | May 9, 2007 |
This is my third Theroux book (others I've read: Mosquito Coast, At Play in the Fields) and it's a different kind of book than the others. There are some overlaps: American goes to amazonian jungle, mystical drug experience with shaman. But it's a much more internal, introspective and psychological book than the others, focused on the main character -- Slade, a writer -- from an internal point of view.

The book starts out with scenes of Slade, a travel writer who, through the popularity of his best-selling book and related lines of "adventure" clothing and accessories, is experiencing a hell of his own devising. Theroux's sketches of Slade's fellow travellers are so on-target that I had to laugh out loud a number of times. But Theroux then veers off into other territory.

The parallels in the book between the main character (Slade) and Bill Clinton are revealing. The lie that is at the heart of Slade's recent best-seller comes back to haunt him, in more ways than one.

In this book, as in his others, Theroux proves a master of subtle description. As he is describing people and places they vividly come alive. His descriptions of Manfred, the German journalist/ethnobotanist, are especially sharp, and I can only imagine that Theroux has known people like Manfred in close quarters.

I have to say I enjoyed the other books more, though this one was compelling and I had a hard time putting it down. ( )
  sabreader | Jan 10, 2007 |
Quite good. Theroux has apparently written some 2 dozen novel, many of which take place in foreign lands and I'll be happy to read more. Apparently this wasnt even one of his better books, as people complained it was too "dirty". I guess his other writing really focus more on being submerged in an unfamiliar culture rather than sex and drugs from an unfamiliar culture.
An entertaining & colorful read nonetheless. But I guess if your looking for the usual Theroux book, look elsewhere ( )
  theduchess | Jan 6, 2007 |
Would you sell your soul to drugs for the sake of your art? Paul Theroux's character in "blinding light" did that. Slade Steadman is an author with one book to his credit, a travelogue, which was a best seller. But he hasn't written anything else in twenty years and wants desperately to write fiction. He hears of a drug, "datura" which enhances the mind and allows your inner self to come to the forefront of literary expertise. He travels to Ecuador to obtain this drug and smuggles it back to the U.S. The drug has side effects. It temporarily makes him blind and it super-charges his sex drive. This is a book about deceit of friends and the literary world, and also about the soul of one man who, above everything else, wants to be revered. ( )
  fauxcajun | Nov 11, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
If (as seems likelier) it’s another preening semiautobiographical tome related to My Secret History (2000) and My Other Life (1996), it’s another illustration of its author’s increasingly bankrupt imagination.

Blinding Light fails to dazzle, or even illuminate.
added by John_Vaughan | editKirkus (Jul 21, 2011)
 
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Epigraph
A place where the unknown past and the emergent future meet in a vibrating soundless hum. Larval entities waiting for a live one. ---William Burroughs, The Yage Letters
Dedication
First words
"Wishing to go where you don't belong is the condition of most people in the world" was the opening sentence of Trespassing.
Quotations
Statistically, only six percent of the women for give blowjobs get any real pleasure from it.
Love is like some horrible twisted religion the way it changes you. And afterward, when love ends, you're lost.
People may call themselves perfectionists, but at the bottom of pedantry is an abiding laziness. Raise enough objections and you never have to accomplish anything.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618711961, Paperback)

From the New York Times best-selling author Paul Theroux, Blinding Light is a slyly satirical novel of manners and mind expansion. Slade Steadman, a writer who has lost his chops, sets out for the Ecuadorian jungle with his ex-girlfriend in search of inspiration and a rare hallucinogen. The drug, once found, heightens both his powers of perception and his libido, but it also leaves him with an unfortunate side effect: periodic blindness. Unable to resist the insights that enable him to write again, Steadman spends the next year of his life in thrall to his psychedelic muse and his erotic fantasies, with consequences that are both ecstatic and disastrous.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Explores creative genius and fame through the life of a writer whose search for a muse has led him into dangerous and destructive places.

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