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Mosquito Coast [Paperback]

Paul Theroux
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 23 2000
"The Mosquito Coast" - winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize - is a breathtaking novel about fanaticism and a futile search for utopia from bestseller Paul Theroux. Allie Fox is going to re-create the world. Abominating the cops, crooks, junkies and scavengers of modern America, he abandons civilisation and takes the family to live in the Honduran jungle. There his tortured, messianic genius keeps them alive, his hoarse tirades harrying them through a diseased and dirty Eden towards unimaginable darkness. "Stunning...exciting, intelligent, meticulously realised, artful". (Victoria Glendinning, "Sunday Times"). "An epic of paranoid obsession that swirls the reader headlong to deposit him on a black mudbank of horror". (Christopher Wordsworth, "Guardian"). "Magnificently stimulating and exciting". (Anthony Burgess). American travel writer Paul Theroux is known for the rich descriptions of people and places that is often streaked with his distinctive sense of irony; his novels and collected short stories, "My Other Life", "The Collected Stories", "My Secret History", "The Lower River", "The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro", "A Dead Hand", "Millroy the Magician", "The Elephanta Suite", "Saint Jack", "The Consul's File", "The Family Arsenal", and his works of non-fiction, including the iconic "The Great Railway Bazaar" are available from Penguin.

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"Bar-el adds plenty of shtick to his retelling of ... 'Three Perfect Peaches'.... A very funny rendition." Kirkus Reviews

A fun purchase for libraries in which funny fairy tales are popular.
School Library Journal

A harebrained joke but a good one.
Publishers Weekly
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Paul Theroux was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1941, and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. His subsequent novels include Picture Palace, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Fiction, The Mosquito Coast, and the hugely acclaimed, Kowloon Tong. His travel books include The Great Railway Bazaar and The Pillars of Hercules.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
We drove past Tiny Polski's mansion house to the main road, and then the five miles into Northampton, Father talking the whole way about savages and the awfulness of America - how it got turned into a dope-taking, door-locking, ulcerated danger-zone of rabid scavengers and criminal millionaires and moral sneaks. 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Courage Jan. 15 2004
By A Customer
I found Allie Fox to be magnetic. There is no doubt he is somewhat mad, but in his madness lies a fair amount of truth. In some ways I find myself wondering if perhaps Allie was right. He sees the modern world as ugly, dependent on manufacturing and pollution and religion, lost in it's own technololgy. He is trying to rescue his family from a desctruction that he believes is inevitable.
Contrary to other reviews I have read I have no feelings that Mother is weak or unable to stand up on her own. She believes in this remarkable man and his ability to make something out of nothing. Her reluctance to go against him comes from her true love for his strength of character and her desire to provide for her children. We are the ones who are stuck thinking survival means money and material goods. They were happiest with their simplicity, their basic needs and their faith in their father.
This story is tragic and beautiful, it is thought provoking and full of life. In the end, I am not so sure who the real savages are.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Character Study Dec 14 2003
By Westley
Paul Theroux's novels generally feature carefully etched characters, but he surpasses himself with Allie Fox, the protagonist of the Mosquito Coast. Allie is a husband and father of four, but he seems to care far more about his "inventions" and radical social ideas than he does about their welfare. To act out his ideals, he moves his family to Central America to start a utopian society, unencumbered by traditional materialism. Some of his contraptions work and the community begins to flourish, until his plans become grandiose. Although the reader can see the tragedy that is to come, Theroux constructs an intriguing plot that keeps the reader drawn into the novel.
Some readers may be greatly off-put by Allie and his behavior; however, he is undeniably a magnetic and fascinating force. Fortunately, the book is narrated from the point-of-view of the teenaged son, Charlie, which allows the reader some distance from the sometimes repugnant Allie. Other readers may be disappointed by Allie's wife. She plays a relatively small role in the proceedings, and she seems to blindly go along with Allie, even when she suspects detrimental effects on her family. However, a man like Allie probably would be married to such a woman, as he likes to be in charge and assert himself on others strongly.
Overall, the Mosquito Coast is a one-of-a-kind literary experience, with a fantastic main character embedded in a rollicking-good story. Most highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Mosquito Coast Nov. 13 2003
By A Customer
It is only in a few instances where a book has affected me so profoundly. Here is a story with a somewhat reproachable philosophy, but a philosophy that I empathize with; Allie Fox sets out with his loyal family to start anew in the savage ridden coast of Honduras. It is here that life becomes a stage for great triumphs of ingenuity and human compassion, and also great tragedy. It is with this book that I listened, as did Charlie, to the constant discourse of his father, and felt the love and the eventual hate that he felt. Allie Fox was truly the modern day tragic figure set up to fail even in the very beginning. If only some of today's parents had the audacity to take their children away from their programmed lifestyles and actually learn about people and nature and socialization instead of preordained history taught to the blank faced TV generation waiting to race home to their playstations. Of coarse you can't play god or make ice in the jungle or lead your family against the river current to their ultimate doom (or salvation depending on how you look at it), but what other option did he really have? Was he to regress? Ultimately it was selfishness that drove him, and perhaps this overshadowed his philosophy, making it safe for us to think of his speeches as the rhetoric of a crazy man where as it should have acted as a reminder and wake-up call to the reader that we live in a society of banality, and boldness should not be shunned or disregarded.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Family of the Jungle Nov. 12 2003
By anthony
The story is about a father that hates America. He hates fat people and everything about America. So one day his father had a plan that he will take his family to a jungle in Honduras. His children doesn't go to school and they dont have any electricity in the house. Then the father take the family , but the children and wife thought that they will go for holidays , but Allie Fox will take them to Honduras forever. In Honduras they had a very hard life. And when Allie made the fat boy people feel so happy there. But when there are two bad men come there they want to be the boss. So tried to kill them but it destroyed the fat boy and polluted the river. ANd then everything was destroyed. They changed their places and had a harder life so one day they found Mr Spellgood church but Allie knew that Allie burn the church so he shot Allie but he didn't died because then the vulture kill him.
I love this nocel because the setting in the jungle is nice. And they tell about the story in the right places. It tells about a natural life in Honduras.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An intersting and exciting story Oct. 17 2002
The story was told by Charlie Fox, the son of Allie Fox. Allie hates America and believes that there will be a war happened in America. He takes his children and wife to the jungle of Honduras and starts a new life. He wants to build a better world, away form money, television and all the troubles of America, such a crazy mind. He thinks he was the only person that makes the villagers in the jungle live better than before. While he was doing the things to achieve his desire, he never concerns the workload that has been given to the villagers and even his children. He was a strict, crude, mad and crazy man.
I like this book because I can imagine what the jungle like through the story, how the family live in a jungle, the problem of the ¡§natural life¡ that they have to face up, what did the villagers in the jungle look like, what the house in the jungle look like, how they can take bath by using simple equipment, the type of food they ate, the dangerous thing that sleeping in a jungle, etc, it was really interesting and attract me to read through the whole story.
And also, after reading this story, I¡ve got a strong feeling on Allie Fox, he thought that he was living in an imperfect world and wanted to create a new and simple life in the jungle, that was his own desire, he still needed to respect and concern the other¡s thinking, he cannot take them away from America by his own thought. His attitude shows that he was selfish and mad. His action brought his whole family to death. In the jungle, he made terrible mistake, the explosion pollute the river and lands, kill all the fishes, let the prisoners to come their home.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing
I don't mean to offend previous reviewers, but calling Allie Fox "magnetic" doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Read more
Published on June 12 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but eventually bordering on annoying.
The character of Allie Fox is both the fuel and the fire of this ambitious and well-written yarn about an eccentric inventor who uproots his family and transports them to Honduras... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003 by D. Knouse
3.0 out of 5 stars Mosquito Coast
This story is about a family taht didn't want to apply changes. Allie Fox named himself as an inventors by using any stuff and think and pit them all together to be a better... Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2003 by Jeannie
1.0 out of 5 stars The small story of Mosquito Coast
The Story started about a father who was really hate living in the city. His name was Allie Fox, he is a inventer. He has a wife and 4 children, They all lived in New York. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2003 by Bryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Mosquitio Coast
The story is about the Fox's family. allie Fox always think that America was an awful country. He hated everything about America. The people, the bilding, everything. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2003 by devi
3.0 out of 5 stars Mosquito Coast
This story started when Allie Fox's started his madness. He took his family to the jungle in Jeronimo ( a primitive island ). He lied to his family. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2003 by Felicia Ratna
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great
I admit I have enjoyed other Thereoux novels a little more than this one which appeared a little strained at times. The hero(? Read more
Published on Oct. 29 2003 by Avid Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars What About Mother?
The huge, gaping "hole" in this story is the characterization (or lack thereof) of Mrs. Fox, AKA "Mother". Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2003 by Mary Lins
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Adventure Story
The Mosquito Coast is a gripping book about a father, Allie Fox, who leads his family to the jungles of Honduras to start a utopian community. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2002 by James Kunz
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