Blinding Light (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
In Blinding Light, author Paul Theroux combines three recurring interests which have distinguished his work for decades: travel, sex, and the nature of creativity. Theroux’s experience as a travel writer is evident in his twenty-sixth novel. The work is filled with vivid descriptions of such lush hideaways as the jungles of Ecuador and the Massachusetts resort community at Martha’s Vineyard. His facility for description carries over, too, in the graphic depictions of sexual activity which highlight pleasure without exploring its moral dimensions. Nevertheless, Blinding Light is more than simply another attempt by a prolific writer to top the best-seller lists. Like many novels written during the postmodern period, Blinding Light is about self-consciousness and the nature of the creative process. Theroux deals with large questions: What does it mean to have imagination? What is the nature of the artist’s vision of reality? What is the cost to the artist for producing his work? What makes this novel different from many that deal with these same issues, however, is Theroux’s interesting and provocative narrative, which obliquely asks and answers these questions in a story that, despite its comic overtones, is a tragedy.
Theroux’s hero, Slade Steadman, is a middle-aged writer who has lived for nearly two decades on the...
(The entire section is 1757 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 13 (March 1, 2005): 1103.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 5 (March 1, 2005): 258.
Library Journal 130, no. 6 (April 1, 2005): 89.
New York 38, no. 21 (June 13, 2005): 113.
The New York Times Book Review 154 (June 5, 2005): 22.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 12 (March 21, 2005): 35.
The Spectator 298 (July 16, 2005): 35.
The Times Literary Supplement, July 15, 2005, p. 19.
The Wall Street Journal 245, no. 99 (May 20, 2005): W10.
(The entire section is 42 words.)