An interview with the author about his new book, The Tao of Travel
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
If there were an "A-List" of living American travel writers, Paul Theroux's name would be at the top. He revitalized the travel writing genre with his 1975 book The Great Railway Bazaar, and since then the prolific author has written more than a dozen travel books (and 28 novels or story collections) from regions as far-flung as Britain, Patagonia, the South Pacific, the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Africa. His reflection on the joys of Maine in the wintertime, "The Wicked Coast," appears in the June issue of The Atlantic.
Theroux's newest book, The Tao of Travel, is not a narrative account of a single journey, but what the author calls "a distillation of travelers' visions and pleasures, observations from my work and others'...based on many decades of reading travel books and traveling the earth." Excerpting travel insights from writers like Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh, Freya Stark, Charles Dickens, Graham Greene, Pico Iyer, and Susan Sontag, The Tao of Travel is "intended as a guidebook, a how-to, a miscellany, a vade mecum, a reading list, [and] a reminiscence." Theroux spoke to The Atlantic by phone from his home in Hawaii.