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The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the…
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The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific (1992)

by Paul Theroux

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1151410,875 (3.71)33
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» See also 33 mentions

English (12)  Dutch (2)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Reading this book saved me a lot of time and money as the further I read, the more I knew that the "happy isles" of Oceania were not for me. Paul Theroux has become my trusted travel advisor. ( )
  pbjwelch | Jul 25, 2017 |
This travel book find Theroux paddling around islands in the Pacific. It is very well written and I enjoyed it immensely at first but then did find it just too long. ( )
  Tifi | Aug 9, 2015 |
Theroux is his usual slightly cranky/hostile self. However, it is a very interesting read. ( )
  Nero56 | Apr 7, 2015 |
Second time through the book and I like it much more than the first. I've also since worked in Am. Samoa, which helped in my comprehension. There are so many passages that stand out where Theroux is poking fun at a group of people, something we all do, but writers tend to get called for because it is in writing. Offhand, I'd also say that Theroux really does not like the Japanese as I'm still searching in any of his books for a favorable comment. I can second that emotion. He visits 51(+?) islands on this journey and I am extraordinarily jealous. ( )
  untraveller | Sep 30, 2014 |
the condensed version was like a sprinkling. ( )
  mahallett | Sep 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A sense of being beyond the reach of civilization comes when, in his intrepid kayak, off Easter Island and between the rock-battering surf and the Pacific, Theroux removes his headphones, ``hears the immense roar of waves and the screaming wind,'' and is terrified. A vast and contemplative book, seeing the ``Pacific as a universe, and the islands like stars in all that space.'' Informative not only for the voyager, but also for those wanting a new perspective on the Western continents of home. (Sorely lacking a map.)
added by John_Vaughan | editKirkus (Jul 21, 1992)
 
The grand tour of Oceania ends with Mr. Theroux describing travel writing as "a horrid preoccupation that I practiced only with my left hand." He then proceeds to make the claim that "I was not sure what I did for a living or who I was, but I was absolutely sure I was not a travel writer." "The Happy Isles of Oceania," with its studiously cynical vision of paradise lost, should make excellent reading for those people who don't want to travel or don't like to travel. It will reassure them that it is best to stay at home and not think too much about how else they might lead their lives. Paul Theroux has long since mastered the craft of writing, but, after finishing this book, I found myself wondering if he will ever master the fine art of travel.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Eric Hansen (Jul 19, 1992)
 
One journalist has cast doubt on Theroux’s account of his dinner with Dame Cath because he had neither tape recorder nor notebook at hand. However, speaking as one of his victims, I have news on that score. I ran into Paul Theroux in Port Moresby in 1991 and spent a few hours with him in shops looking at carvings, which I was there researching at the time. We chatted for over an hour, said our good-byes, and I thought no more of it.

What an bracing little shock then to find myself in this book. I have a different name and the place of our encounter has been changed, but Theroux has managed to record with uncanny accuracy what I told him. I imagine he holds conversations long enough in his memory to write them down as soon as he is alone. My page in The Happy Isles leaves me both astonished and mildly embarrassed. Did I say that those villagers on one occasion I recounted to him “almost shat in their pants”? Well, uh, I did. People who loose their tongues in the presence of writers have no right to complain.

added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Press, Denis Dutton
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Therouxprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
God bless the thoughtful islands
Where warrants never come;
God bless the just Republics
That give a man a home...

Rudyard Kipling, The Broken Men
Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles...

Tennyson, Ulysses
Dedication
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Voor Mee Ling Loo en Sheila Donnelly
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Er was in de Engelse taal geen goed woord voor dit hopeloze afscheid.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 061865898X, Paperback)

In one of his most exotic and breathtaking journeys, the intrepid traveler Paul Theroux ventures to the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand's rain forests and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines. This exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In one of his most exotic and breathtaking journeys, the intrepid traveler Paul Theroux ventures to the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand's rain forests and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines. This exhilarating tropical epic is full of disarming observations and high adventure."Engaging and at times brilliant...he goes places where the rest of us might fear to paddle, often beaching his kayak on a small South Pacific island without the foggiest idea whether those awaiting him will be friendly, indifferent, or anxious to give him a good thwack...well worth reading." USA Today "A superb blend of sharp-eyed observation and pungently expressed opinion. It's hardly paradise, this lovely part of the world, but Theroux makes it endlessly fascinating." Newsday "Feisty, eloquent, and vast in scope...a multilayered odyssey." The San Francisco Chronicle "Perceptive, terribly readable, and wickedly funny...[An] exhilarating book." --Book Review The Los Angeles Times… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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