Like the great wit Gore Vidal, Paul Theroux is a much better non-fiction essayist than novelist, though Paul has had a few fiction highlights along his lengthy and illustrious career.
His latest, Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads, dives deep into Southern Americana, in all its beautifully charming, gracious, violent, dark and ugly dimensions. It's a fresh look, and well worth the read.
Of course -- being Paul -- the cranky master traveler frequently goes off on fellow writers and their clichéd "mock danger" American travel narratives, the tropes about the "open road," the British travel writer's general disdain for American mores, along with Theroux's usual back-handed compliments and vicious (yet subtle) take-downs of those that inspire in him either jealousy or contempt (or both).
I could go on -- his descriptions of the current degrading and dehumanizing air travel process (as compared to the glory days of air travel) are hilarious and spot-on, and the intimate portraits of the many rural poor he encounters are insightful as well as sometimes shocking.
But this is a legal blog, so ta-dah!
There, can I go home now?
(Ok, it's a foreclosure case where Senior Judge Herb Stettin and Carlton Fields got subject matter jurisdiction wrong).