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Blinding Light [Paperback]

Paul Theroux
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 July 2006
Slade Steadman is the author of a world-famous travel book, but has struggled to match its success for the past thirty years. A journey downriver in a remote eastern province of Ecuador gives him the experience he has been seeking - and a miracle drug, which induces temporary blindness. On his return to the USA, Steadman is rejuvenated - able not only to write and remember, but granted an almost uncanny prescience, bordering on second sight...

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014101573X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141015736
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,141,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Theroux was born and educated in the United States. After graduating from university in 1963, he travelled first to Italy and then to Africa, where he worked as a Peace Corps teacher at a bush school in Malawi, and as a lecturer at Makerere University in Uganda. In 1968 he joined the University of Singapore and taught in the Department of English for three years. Throughout this time he was publishing short stories and journalism, and wrote a number of novels. Among these were Fong and the Indians, Girls at Play and Jungle Lovers, all of which appear in one volume, On the Edge of the Great Rift (Penguin, 1996).

In the early 1970s Paul Theroux moved with his wife and two children to Dorset, where he wrote Saint Jack, and then on to London. He was a resident in Britain for a total of seventeen years. In this time he wrote a dozen volumes of highly praised fiction and a number of successful travel books, from which a selection of writings were taken to compile his book Travelling the World (Penguin, 1992). Paul Theroux has now returned to the United States, but he continues to travel widely.

Paul Theroux's many books include Picture Palace, which won the 1978 Whitbread Literary Award; The Mosquito Coast, which was the 1981 Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year and joint winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was also made into a feature film; Riding the Iron Rooster, which won the 1988 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; The Pillars of Hercules, shortlisted for the 1996 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award; My Other Life: A Novel, Kowloon Tong, Sir Vidia's Shadow, Fresh-air Fiend and Hotel Honolulu. Blindness is his latest novel. Most of his books are published by Penguin.

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Theroux was born and educated in the States, and after spending time in Italy and then Africa, he lived in Britain for seventeen years. He is the author of many bestselling fiction and non-fiction books, including most recently Dark Star Safari and The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WISHING TO GO where you don't belong is the condition of most people in the world" was the opening sentence of Trespassing. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable, but not a classic 15 Dec 2006
I liked the central idea of contrasting physical blindness, when the protagonist is supposedly at his most sensitive and creative, and mental blindness - or writer's block - where he cannot engage in his life or those in it, even though he still has his eyesight. There were a lot of sex scenes to the book and sometimes it just felt like reading Paul Theroux's own fantasies. There were some loose ends, and I never like loose ends in a plot. Manfred was a stereotype and Paul Theroux's portrayal of him made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

But overall I don't want my money back. Readable, but not a classic. Certainly not in the same league of The Mosquito Coast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful - start to finish 18 Feb 2010
Unlike one of the previous reviewers, I am, unfortunately, a person who, having read a book to page 244, HAS to finish it. I can only say to the previous reviewer that you're lucky you aren't. You missed nothing. This is a trashy, trashy novel with no direction and no point. It repeats itself horribly. The minor characters (notably German Manfred and British Janey) are the worst (and laziest) caricatures I've ever come across. The main characters are dislikable and arrogant. There is no real tension and after about page 100 I really, really just did not care what happened to a single person in this novel. The best part of the whole thing is the blurb on the back, which makes it sound like an intriguing adventure. It is nothing of the sort.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I want my money back! 2 Sep 2006
I enjoyed Chicago Loop and Kowloon Tong, so I was looking forward to this. The initial concept is interesting, and the Ecuador episode is fairly good, except for the stereotyped Englishwoman who comes out with every hackneyed Britishism that Theroux could find, but the rest of it is a complete snore. The sex sucked (basically, sucking is what the rest of it seems to be about). I made it to page 244. I don't know and don't care what happened after that. I flicked ahead through a few pages to see if it looked like it was going to get any better. Almost every page I looked at was something to do with a bulge in the protagonist's jeans. Again and again and again.

Very poor stuff. I want my money back.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Carlos Castenada for Cynics 13 April 2009
The beginning of the novel is gripping; what Theroux excels at; a vicious, viscous description of travelling into the heart of the jungle to take a LSD-type drug. Steadman, Theroux's anti-hero, is a washed up but successful writer, living off the proceeds of a book he wrote many years before about travelling around the world without a passport or baggage. He is now looking for inspiration. He finds it in the drug, which temporarily blinds him but illuminates the world, enabling him to have magnificently sensual experiences. The drug and the blindness start to dominate his life: like Dr Henry Jekyll he descends into an Edward Hyde state of hellish damnation. The book's set pieces with Steadman having a clam bake with Bill Clinton are magnificent. Less convincing is his characterisation of the main love interest, Ava. Still, it's highly recommended.
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