Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
11-15-2019, 10:35 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-15-2019, 10:37 AM by roberb7.)
Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
A very insightful account of Paul Theroux' recent travels in Mexico.
I'm reading it on Kindle. If you get the dead tree version, please consider donating it to the English Language Library when you're finished with it.

Theroux gives high praise to another book, Pedro Páramo, by Juan Rulfo. I've heard from a couple of other people that it is excellent.
It is available only in hardcover or paperback. Again, if you can donate a copy to the English Language Library, it will be appreciated.
11-17-2019, 10:21 AM,
RE: Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
And I might add, in stark contrast to the seldom revered work of Samual Jackson .....
11-19-2019, 08:21 AM,
RE: Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
Thank you very much for this recommendation. I think it is going to be very good. The first page is wonderful. Can't wait to read more.
11-19-2019, 12:01 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-19-2019, 12:03 PM by doncoulter.)
RE: Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
I'm a longtime fan of Theroux's writing, especially his travel books, so I was excited to see a long excerpt from this latest book in the New York Times a couple of months ago. One thing I've liked about his work is that he generally gets "off the beaten path," well away from the tourist zones, and introduces us to the locals. I was thus quite disappointed to read, in the excerpt, this sentence: "In the dark back streets of Matehuala, looking for a place to stay, I remembered the friendly motel, Las Palmas, where I’d slept on the way south...." He makes Las Palmas sound humble. It's not. And far from being on "the dark back streets" of the town, it's right on the main highway, and it's about as "friendly" as your typical Courtyard by Marriott. It's the sort of place where all the San Miguel expats stay on their border runs. So it's convenient, yes, but it's also very pricey, and you'd be unlikely to encounter any Matehualans there, outside of the help. I've never stayed there myself, but I stopped to have a look once: it looked quite nice, with a large, lovely pool, a place to walk your dog, an overpriced restaurant, and so on. Instead of Las Palmas, I've always driven a mile or so into the heart of Matehuala. It's a pretty town, genuinely friendly, with few tourists, and with many lodging options that one would think would appeal more to the sort of traveler Theroux paints himself as being.

In short, that one sentence of Theroux's made me wonder whether the rest of his book would be equally dishonest.

Well, Bob and Colleen, let us know what you think after you finish the book.
11-19-2019, 01:16 PM,
RE: Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
I'm now one-third of the way through it. I've spotted some minor inaccuracies, but no major ones.
11-25-2019, 07:09 PM,
RE: Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
I tried, I really tried.
A long time reader and admirer of Theroux's travel writings. But this current effort greatly disappointed me after finishing Part 1 which is a 40 page litany of cartel violence in the most gruesome detail. I understand his need to open the book with some context as to where he is about to travel but it goes on and on and gave me no reason to continue further.
Too bad, he was always an enjoyable read with an individual style but this opening dump of decapitated cartel victims got real old, real fast.
11-25-2019, 07:30 PM,
RE: Book recommendation: _On the Plain of Snakes_, by Paul Theroux
That litany of cartel violence does eventually come to an end.

I'm at the 61% mark now. He went to the same Spanish school in Oaxaca that I did, Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca. His reaction to four hours of Spanish immersion a day was very similar to mine; head exploding.

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