Paul Theroux practices a solitary, sedentary trade: writing, mostly novels: “Chicago Loop” among them, and “Mosquito Coast.” Yet the quiet writer in the small room with the door closed has always wanted to see himself as a man in motion too, as a time-traveler on ancient coal-and-steam choo-choo trains in China, or a kayak paddler reliving David Livingstone’s discovery of Victoria Falls, “the smoke that roars,” on the Zambezi River in Central Africa.
Paul Theroux insists it was feeling like an outsider since boyhood that made him a hiker and camper, then a traveler; and it was being a traveler that made him a writer; experiencing otherness to the limit, and in the completely foreign cultures of Asia and Africa, learning to live in his own head, retrieving memory, taking heart.
“You want to be a writer?” he asks, and answers: “Leave home.”
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Writer Paul Theroux