Paul Theroux’s New Novel: ‘A Dead Hand’
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 11.18.09 | 1:50 PM ET
Paul Theroux’s new novel isn’t scheduled to be released in the U.S. until February 2010, but it’s already getting mixed reviews in the British press. It’s a mystery of sorts set in Calcutta and featuring a down-on-his-luck travel-writer-protagonist named Jerry Delfont.
Intriguingly, writes Doug Johnstone in The Independent:
Midway through the book, Delfont meets a fictional veteran US travel writer called Paul Theroux, a more successful and famous version of Delfont, whom he despises. The next 20 pages amount to a diatribe by Delfont about the act of travel writing, describing it as an emotionally stunted, puerile and selfish pastime, and brutally denouncing anyone who is stupid and arrogant enough to do it. This remarkable interlude is compelling, like rubbernecking a psychological car crash - but the rest of the novel is distinctly patchy, the bad points eventually outweighing the good.