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The Mosquito Coast (1980)

by Paul Theroux

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,276407,037 (3.72)111
Fiction. Literature. Thriller. HTML:NOW AN APPLE ORIGINAL SERIES FROM APPLE TV+ STARRING JUSTIN THEROUX
AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
  • "A gripping adventure story."â??New York Times Book Review
    The paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they've left. Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life. But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions lead the family toward unimaginable danger.… (more)
    1. 10
      The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas by Paul Theroux (brianjungwi)
      brianjungwi: Ideas for the Mosquito Coast came from his trip during The Old Patagonian Express
    2. 10
      The Survival of Jan Little by John Man (bluepiano)
      bluepiano: A non-fiction book with a story and characters so like those of Mosquito Coast that I've often wondered whether Little's is the true story that Theroux supposedly based his novel upon. (Also published under the even more cringe-making title Survive!)
    3. 00
      The Missionaries: God Against the Indians by Norman Lewis (brianjungwi)
    4. 00
      The London Embassy by Paul Theroux (John_Vaughan)
    5. 00
      The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Iudita)
      Iudita: Similar themes
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    » See also 111 mentions

    English (34)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (39)
    Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
    I found this novel less compelling than Theroux's travel writing. ( )
      sfj2 | Mar 10, 2024 |
    It had been a while since I read a book by Theroux. I love his travel books. He has been called a cynic by many, though I guess that could be seen as a recommendation as well. To me it isn´t necessarily a negative point. Theroux writes big books, which makes them ideal to take on a holiday, at least to me, as I read a lot and can´t take piles of books.

    The Mosquito coast is a novel, yet it is also a travel book. An American family decides to leave the States, the country is not making progress according to Father. They end up in Honduras where they manage to create a little community where they live happily, all doing their daily chores. Father even manages to build an ice machine, use fire to make ice, even in the heat of central America. Yet father goes berserk and things do not look as brightly as they did before.

    Great story, difficult to put down. It does help that I have been in Honduras and have some images in my head when I read this. Apart from that I saw a great movie with Robin Williams as the brilliant, yet crazy father. Greatly recommended.

    (I was wrong, it has been turned into a movie, yet RW wasn't involved) ( )
      privaterevolution | Mar 4, 2024 |
    A book that mirrors its journey into the jungle as it slowly falls apart like the main cast. The premise is wonderful; the most American American, the epitome of self reliance and independence, has to retreat from America to return to a more true way of life, away from the corrupt remnants of a once great nation. What that way of life is and how it's to be lived is what falls apart during the course of the book, in obvious allusions to those who dream those ideals back home. There's a separate man vs religion theme throughout the book as well, but less clear in purpose.
    Unfortunately it can't quite pull the threads together and they instead fall apart into a near parody of itself as the father's insanity and purity spiral continues, becoming more a Kurtz in the jungle. The more elevated threads seem lost in the end to pure antipathy for domineering father figures as the story limps home and you're left wondering if it was really just intended as a character portrait of insanity through the eyes of the son, any more clever threads left rotting on the jungle floor.
    ( )
      A.Godhelm | Oct 20, 2023 |
    Every parent is Allie Fox. Every child is Charlie. Mosquito Coast is metaphor in the extreme. Brilliant.
      Deni_Weeks | Sep 16, 2023 |
    My mom and I just went on a long road trip to visit her family and this was one of the audiobooks we listened to. We were HOOKED. The father is an eccentric version of my father, so the ranting was perfectly worded, colorful versions of conversations with my dad. I like that this family went against the grain of society and took all the changes of living among a new landscape and culture in stride.

    We speculated the story to take place in the 60s, based on the TV show references, the mother's essentially passive behavior, and the ease of immigrating to a central American country (pre-civil war).

    I can understand how the content would be irritating to many people, but make others want to high-five the father after each of his rants. My mom and I are in the latter. We like the extreme cynicism mixed with profound insight. It makes much of the book hilarious, meanwhile you get to learn a little bit of Honduras and have an outdoor adventure. ( )
      leah_markum | Oct 28, 2022 |
    Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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    » Add other authors (7 possible)

    Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
    Theroux, Paulprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
    Häilä, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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    To "Charlie Fox," whose story this is and whose courage showed me that the brave cannot be killed. With grateful thanks for many hours of patient explanation and good humor in the face of my ignorant questioning. May he find the peace he deserves on this safer coast. Naksaa - P.T.
    First words
    We drove past Tiny Polski's mansion house to the main road, and then the five miles into Northampton, Father talking the whole way about savages and the awfulness of America - how it got turned into a dope-taking, door locking, ulcerated danger zone of rabid scavengers and criminal millionaires and moral sneaks.
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    Fiction. Literature. Thriller. HTML:NOW AN APPLE ORIGINAL SERIES FROM APPLE TV+ STARRING JUSTIN THEROUX
    AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
    "A gripping adventure story."â??New York Times Book Review
    The paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they've left. Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life. But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions lead the family toward unimaginable danger.

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