Read The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around Great Britain by Paul Theroux Free Online
Book Title: The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around Great Britain|
The author of the book: Paul Theroux
Edition: Houghton Mifflin
Date of issue: 1986
ISBN 13: 9780395346457
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 21.94 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2592 times
Reader ratings: 4.5
Read full description of the books:
Oh Paul Theroux, why must you be so grouchy? I mean, you're traveling around England, one of the best countries on earth! Where's the joy? Where's the love? Where's the gratitude?
OK, so I now realize that I had unrealistic expectations for this book. I liked Theroux's memoir of his travels around the coast of Great Britain, but I didn't love it as I had hoped.
Theroux, who was born in America, had good fish-out-of-water stories about living and traveling in England, but for some reason it was a challenge for me to finish this book. I had gravitated to The Kingdom by the Sea because I always like a good travelogue, and I especially love reading about England. (Hello, my name is Diane and I'm an Anglophile. / Group: Hi, Diane.)
So, I had hoped to escape into this book and temporarily avoid thinking about the current disaster of American politics. However, something was off -- my mood or the tone of the writing, but whatever it was, I didn't mesh with this memoir as I had wanted. I think part of it was that Theroux comes across as really grouchy, which made my reading less escapist and enjoyable.
Another factor is that Theroux spent a lot of time discussing and writing about the 1982 Falklands War, which was happening during his trip. While I found it interesting to hear what the locals were saying about the military developments, it also made me uneasy and reminded me of current wars and strife and the fearmongering going on right now. In short, this wasn't the reading escape I had hoped.
I think this is a book I'll need to reread at a different point, when I'm less edgy and can better appreciate Theroux's travel narrative. One suggestion I'd make for the publisher is to add a map showing his route -- as it was I was constantly googling the names of towns to figure out where Theroux was in his journey.
Overall, I'd still recommend this book to those who like reading travelogues about England. Just brace yourself for some grouchiness.
"Everyone seemed to be going to China that year, or else writing rude things about the Arabs, or being frank about Africa. I had other things on my mind. After eleven years in London I still had not been much in Britain. I had not set foot in Wales or even East Anglia. People joked about Bognor Regis. I had never been to Bognor Regis. but I joked about it too! And where was Porlock? And was Northern Ireland a nightmare and Scotland breathtaking? And what exactly were the Lincolnshire Wolds? What I knew of Britain I had got from books. Britain was the most written-about country in the world. That was the problem, really. You read one book about China and you think you've got a good idea of the place; you read twenty books about Britain, even English Traits and Rural Rides, and you know you haven't got the slightest."
"One of the few boasts the British risked was that their country was changeless. In some trivial ways it was, but to an alien it seemed entirely irregular and unpredictable, changing from day to day. It was not a question of seismic shocks, but rather a steadier kind of erosion -- like the seemingly changeless and consoling tide, in which there was always, in its push and pull, slightly more loss than gain. The endless mutation of the British coast wonderfully symbolized the state of the nation. In a quiet way the British were hopeful, and because in the cycle of ruin and renewal there had been so much ruin, they were glad to be still holding on -- that was the national mood -- but they were hard put to explain their survival. The British seemed to me to be people forever standing on a crumbling coast and scanning the horizon. So I had done the right thing in traveling the coast, and instead of looking out to sea, I had looked inland."
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