“The Traveler’s Wife”
“The Traveler’s Wife” is from Paul Theroux’s new collection, MR BONES (Houghton Mifflin, 2015). Theroux has written over 30 works of fiction and half as many works of non-fiction, including the book that launched his celebrity, THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR, published in 1975.
Francine Prose, reviewing the collection in the New York Times, wrote: “Fans of Theroux’s fiction will be pleased to observe, in the 20 stories collected in MR BONES, clear evidence of how little he has mellowed over time.”
She continued: “Some of Theroux’s characters may strike us as descendants of Joseph Conrad’s Mr. Kurtz: men whose encounters with foreign cultures enable or compel them to confront their true selves and indulge their most febrile obsessions. Wronged victims hold grudges for years and plot elaborate revenge; innocents fall into the clutches of cannibals and spy rings; people suffer the extreme consequences of ill-advised love affairs and the side effects of exotic hallucinogens. Though Theroux’s work is like no one else’s, we may hear faint echoes of Graham Greene and Paul Bowles, of film noir and “hard-boiled” detective fiction and of certain writers — Lafcadio Hearn, O. Henry and Saki, among others — no longer widely read.”
Kirkus’ starred review noted: “After more than 40 years of publishing short stories, Theroux has become a master of the form, with a deep capacity to engage, enchant and unsettle. There’s something almost quaint—and ultimately gratifying—about the manner in which Theroux’s stories rely on irony, circumstance and character motivation while retaining their inscrutability.”