Mr. Theroux can't get through a sentence, much less a paragraph, without sticking his thumb into the reader's eye with a word we've never heard or a word he just makes up…. After 100 pages [of "Darconville's Cat"] you will want to punch his face out with a thesaurus. Trying too hard is always having to say I'm sorry….
Mr. Theroux, like P. G. Wodehouse and the lamentable Dickens, leans on names for humorous effect. Miss Xystine Chapelle, as student body president, is permissible, maybe. But shouldn't the line have been drawn at Guggenheim Grant? Mr. Theroux, in addition, puns promiscuously. His characters drink tea at the Seldom Inn. They dance to the music of a band named The Uncalled Four. They...
(The entire section is 639 words.)