Pavel Medved, Paulie, or Paul Theroux, the fictional narrator of these memoirs and a man of many guises, has reconstructed his past, giving it wit and life, tragedy and pathos and imposed an order on it through careful editing. Inordinately fond of train travel, he takes us on a journey over a career spanning 30 years and distills it into poignant episodes. From his early education by his eccentric Uncle Hal, himself an unlikely author and lover of dog biscuits, we are guided through Theroux's years as a fledgling novelist in literary London, under the wing of the rapacious Lady Max, to his grief at finding himself alone again, at age fifty, in the town of his youth. Complex, candid and confessional, the distinctive qualities of My Other Life will be instantly recognizable to admirers of Theroux's My Secret History.
In this stylish and clever novel the real Paul Theroux has created a protagonist of depth and great subtlety whose fall from grace sets him adrift-until he recognizes again the redeeming power of this art.
©1997 Paul Theroux; (P)2009 Phoenix
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"Fiction that isn't too far from Paul's true life"
This is several short pieces that loosely mirror Paul's life. He did live in Africa, Singapore and England and the characters all hail from these places. The hero is also a teacher and a writer. Paul intended this to make fun of travel writers who often fictionalize characters in their books to make them more interesting. Paul teaches us along the way how to be truly interesting. By pointing out the details and embellishing the mundane characters by casting them in situations that are compelling and gripping. I still feel like Paul's talent is for non fiction. His fictional pieces often broach uncomfortable subjects and aren't as believable as others who write fiction that seems much more plausible. Still a fun listen and I am biased, since I am also a teacher of English in China and an avid fan who has retraced some of his Asian journeys on trains, buses and boats.
"Not what I expected"
I'm a long time fan of Paul Theroux, and respect David Dukes as a fine actor. BUT, I was sorely disappointed with the narration of this book. I'll just have to read it myself. I will read anything written by Paul Theroux and will watch anything David Dukes acts in. Maybe I just don't get it, although I'm sure others might.
Not one of Theroux's masterpieces, but it would have been fine to listen to in the car and pass time during my daily commute. However, the reader was quite annoying. He mispronounced several words such as "snooker" and "Pepys" and tried unsuccessfully to imitate various accents. My take on these audio books is that the reader is almost everything, and in this case, he killed what was already only an average book.
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