The Happy Isles of Oceania

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This book was really neat. Paul Theroux is one of the most popular travel writers of our times and I am fully aware that it will take me years to eat myself through his literature.

He hates the travel writers who stay in 4-star hotels and write about fine dining experiences and don't see the actual people and places, and we agree on that point.
As usual, he's critical of all he sees, occasionally hypocritical, observant but prone to overgeneralization, often unhappy. There were other issues as well such as trash littered beaches and coves full of styrofoam containers and bottles. Welcome back. Mr. Theroux took a year to kayak around many Pacific islands in a collapsible travel kayak. I felt it was a journey that was close to his heart, in many ways, and somehow he translated that deepness to the writteThis book seems more pensive than Paul's usual fare, and that may be due to that fact that he set out on this trip right after he, and his wife, separated. "Do you write about your travels?"

His readers can do this from the safety of their armchairs. But, he experiences a lot, he gets into conversation with a lot of people without taking advantage of them, he's funny.

I thought this book was going to be a great ode to the Pacific islands, but instead it was just one man's cynical and downtrodden tirade. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

On one hand he goes on these amazing adventures, on the other hand he is cranky and judgmental and while some reviews claim this trait to be "wickedly funny" (Los Angeles Times) I have this feeling deep down that in another person's hands, the experiences might be more compassionate, perhaps more insightful, and that holds me back from diving in. Theroux is a mesmerizing narrator - brilliant, witty, keenly perceptive as he floats through Gauguin landscapes, sails in the wake of Captain Cook and recalls the bewitching tales of Jack London and …

That comes across in a big way in this book (as anyone living anywhere in Oceania is fat, lazy, and not overly friendly, according to Theroux) but he does manage to characterize each place he visits as slightly different from the other.Here I am, stepping into something huge again. After divorcing his first wife, Tropical paradise?

It was an eye-opener for me.

I've read books that start off as engaging, but quickly lose the reader with dense facts, boring subtleties and the rigors of a timeline based storytelling ("this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened."). I somehow made my way through 175 pages of this book before I decided that I didn't need to finish it. Huh. Theroux travelled in the usual way; but in and around the 52 islands he visited, he negotiated reefs, beaches, rocks and lagoons by collapsible kayak. We’d love your help. The final set piece, of a total eclipse in Hawaii, is a little awkward, but still a cute ending. I enjoyed the work, moderately, but its length and the sameness of his experiences resulted in a tedium that increased as the chapters unfolded.This book was my first Paul Theroux. I enjoyed the work, moderately, but its length and the sameness of his experiences resulted in a tedium that increased as the chapters unfolded.This is the second travel book I’ve read by Paul Theroux, the first having recounted his experiences during a walk around the periphery of Britain.

It was such a relief to realize that I don't need to spend more than 500 pages with this miserable man.


I'm at the last section of the book and I'm amazed that I've made it this far without giving up. This book seems more pensive than Paul's usual fare, and that may be due to that fact that he set out on this trip right after he, and his wife, separated.

The fact that I traveled to Islands in the South Pacific while reading this book helped. I said, Yes, I did. It is bittersweet indeed!

But even if you've never traveled to this part of the world, I suspect you'll still deeply enjoy this book, for the writing is witty, insightful, and madly entertaining. This is not a Bill Bryson laugh out loud or a Michael Palin pleasant trip with many helpers but a one man tour-de-force in a collapsible kayak.This travel book by my favorite travel author, Paul Theroux, did not disappoint. I probably got it almost twenty years ago, and have read and read and read it. He shows how travel can test one's civility. It is an account of a trip taken through the Pacific Islands shortly after the break-up of his first marriage.

Paul Theroux is a gifted writer and in this book, he managed to keep me hooked all through its 528 pages. of the ancient Polynesians as they settled the islands of the Pacific. Please stand by, while we are checking your browser...Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property.If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware.If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. [1] It is bittersweet indeed! Culture shock sneaks up on you, surprises you, and makes you grow. I choose a Paul Theroux travel book when I expect to be short on reading time.

So, he was downhearted, and at loose ends emotionally. An epic voyage, an epic book; I found it impossible to put down. I can pick it up, read a leg of his journey and put it down again feeling like I've been away on vacation. This is not a Bill Bryson laugh out loud or a Michael Palin pleasant trip with many helpers but a one man tour-de-force in a collapsible kayak.I am now 45 years old and this is the first Paul Theroux book I have read (add a suitably embarrassed emoji).

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