Half Moon Street (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
The appearance of a new book by Paul Theroux will inevitably stir memories in the minds of most readers of one of the most popular and moving novels published in recent years. Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast caused a mild sensation in the publishing world in 1982, bringing national attention to a writer who had been publishing fine fiction and nonfiction for two decades. The novel had all the right ingredients to appeal to a wide audience: a good story with a mix of comedy and suspense, capped with a tragic scene that touches the reader’s heart but does not traumatize; crisp, carefully crafted prose that does not call attention to itself; a rich texture of allusion that illuminates the novel’s subtexts. This modern-day Bildungsroman suggested the best of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens in its portrait of the young hero, while simultaneously highlighting the sad condition of the modern world that its teenage protagonist sees so clearly all around him. It is a novel that will be hard to top.
The Mosquito Coast is also the kind of novel that sends readers back to earlier works by the same author to see if they have missed something and—perhaps not always to the novelist’s pleasure—makes his future works subject to immediate comparison with the books that brought him into the national limelight. Many novelists are never able...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Book World. XIV, December 9, 1984, p. 5.
Kirkus Reviews. LII, October 22, 1984, p. 94.
Library Journal. CIX, November 1, 1984, p. 2081.
Los Angeles Times. October 25, 1984, V, p. 22.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, October 28, 1984, p. 35.
The New Yorker. LX, January 7, 1985, p. 72.
Newsweek. CIV, October 22, 1984, p. 94.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVI, August 24, 1984, p. 72.
Saturday Review. X, November, 1984, p. 86.
The Wall Street Journal. CCIV, October 12, 1984, p. 28.
(The entire section is 57 words.)