Paul Theroux is famous. He has literally fame. And he writes his ass off. you might know The Mosquito Coast, or Dark Star Safari or The Great Railway Bazaar. There are many, many more. Deep South should be added to the must-read list because it does not cover a foreign land. (Unless you are from outside the US.) Well, I take that back. It does. The Deep South of America is a foreign land, but it’s located right here on home soil.
Theroux is a very good observer and he also asks tough questions, questions that can make the reader squirm, think about other things, or just close the book for a minute. The South reminds Americans of a lot of past and current injustice and this book does a great job of reminding us once again. Things are tough. Things are potentially not as they seem. And there are a lot of folks who need assistance. (No need to go to Africa to provide aid Mr. Clinton.)
The South is unique and does offer certain things impossible to find in other parts of the country or world. These should be appreciated but the past is very much the present in the modern South and things like racism can be front and center in daily life, education, commerce, real estate, and critical aid. Well worth the time and effort to investigate via this book.
But there’s more. I have a Theroux story. I used to go to Hawaii every year to work on the same project. I went for many years in a row. One day I was walking on the shoreline, in a location that will remain undisclosed, and I encountered a man sitting in the surf on a folding chair, yellow legal pad, pen, writing. I looked down and thought “That looks like Theroux.” Later that day, I ran into a friend who is a writer and told him the same story. “Ya, that’s him,” he said. So, that’s my Theroux story. I saw him. Could have tackled him if I wanted but I have solid restraint systems in place.