- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 1 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618711961
- ISBN-13: 978-0618711963
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.6 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 431 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,204,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Blinding Light: A Novel Paperback – Jun 1 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Theroux's antihero, Slade Steadman, chronicled his renegade days of globetrotting without the aid of a passport in the bestselling Trespassing—20 years ago. Living luxuriously off royalties on Martha's Vineyard, he has been struggling to finish a second book ever since. Things change when he flies to Ecuador in quest of a potent performance-enhancing drug. He smuggles back to the U.S. a year's supply of the rare datura, which when ingested produces temporary blindness and a paradoxical "blinding light" that exposes truths about the world, truths he uses to complete his pompous, solipsistic Book of Revelation. The substance also luckily boosts his libido, for his relationship with tenacious obstetrician Ava has been on the rocks lately. Prolific Theroux (Dark Star Safari; Hotel Honolulu; etc.) oversaturates this novel with smutty, purplish passages describing cartoonish erotic encounters. The cheap sexual transgressions of a thinly veiled Bill Clinton character also take center stage as Theroux overworks a mirroring link between the fallible president and Steadman, who after the publication of his book continues to deceive his friends and the clamoring public by claiming to be truly blind. Theroux's language is typically vivid and lush when describing the Ecuadorian jungle. On the whole, however, his prose is repetitive, and Steadman is uncongenial, his fate after a year of substance abuse all too predictable. Agent, Andrew Wylie. Author tour. (June 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Unlike Slade Steadman, the one-book wonder portrayed in this suspenseful Faustian tale of toxic inspiration, Theroux has 40 books to his credit, including a number of edgy best-selling travel chronicles. A masterful and mesmerizing storyteller who has seen it all, Theroux is drawn to transgression and the darker zones of eroticism, and there is much irony in Steadman's claim to fame, Trespassing, a book about his travels around the world without a passport. Trespassing has made Steadman, now 50, rich, but he hasn't been able to write in years. Enter Ava, a beautiful doctor, who convinces him to go on a drug tour in Ecuador. There an overbearing German journalist becomes Steadman's savior and nemesis by introducing him to a psychotropic plant known as the tiger's blindfold. Although the hallucinogen does, indeed, temporarily blind Steadman, it also heightens his extrasensory powers of perception and dispels his writer's block. By day he dictates an explicit novel to Ava, then, at night, they reenact the lascivious encounters he describes (is this a variation on every writer's secret fantasy?). But as in all the indelible old myths about hubris and forbidden powers, Steadman goes too far. And he is not alone, as Theroux slyly links Steadman's harrowing downfall to that of another powerful man who can't help but tempt fate, President Bill Clinton. Theroux's greatest powers reside in his detailed and sensuous descriptions, and he is positively dazzling here as he calls forth a vivid world not of sights but of scents, sounds, and touch. So all-consuming does this sexy, gothic fable and searing social critique become, it itself serves as a mind-altering substance. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
However, along the way there are some bumps. The first part of this book was for me the best; then it tends to get very drawn out with some of the descriptions which go on and on- not exactly helping one form a visual picture. It is also quite an erotic book- there is a lot of graphic sex, if that isn’t your cup of tea then this wouldn’t be for you. I would say he could have chopped down the middle two parts of the story by about half. Some of the descriptions of a certain famous presidential scandal are unfortunate. But overall I thought this was a great story- definitely memorable, and found myself hooked from the first pages. Parts of it are laugh-out-loud funny. It will become instantly enjoyable to any fan of Paul Theroux; and for anyone else, perhaps you will discover something new.
This one is slightly better than that -- he seems to have taken time to actually write a whole novel, as opposed to a good idea written poorly. Here, both the idea of the book is great, a stalled writer opened by taking a mind-altering drug, then blinded and redeemed by the visions unleashed, but the execution is also interesting and the pacing strong. Miles above his last Hawaii book, this one has interesting interludes with Clinton, copious sex, and lots of drug use and abuse. Right up my alley! Seriously, though, if you have given up on Theroux's fiction, you may want to reconsider and give it a try. There's plenty of the good Theroux lurking in this book, and it was a pleasure to read and enjoy.
Everything I love about his writing is here: exotic (but at times painfully uncomfortable) travel, garish and obnoxious characters, graphic but intimate sexual episodes and power plays (against the backdrop of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, no less!). And, since this is fiction, Theroux can weave a mysterious drug into the plot that is fantastic and fascinating.
The novel has such an authentic feel that, from reading Theroux's other works, I wondered how much of it actually happened. The opening travel chapters felt like his nonfiction travel books. I can easily see Theroux, who grew up and (as far as I know) maintained a residence in New England, appearing at high-powered celebrity parties at Martha's Vineyard. He even makes a brief mention of growing up at a swimming pool. The added interest in his works, for me, has always been to wonder whether "this really happened" or not.
BLINDING LIGHT is one of his best.
plane of Vision- accepting that blind persons have augmentation of other sensory perceptions- this temporary blindness might give new 'light'and a new vision for ourselves,present,past and future?
His prose is as usual scintillating,and the flashbacks to earlier
life show human sexuality at times beyond imagination.
In fact its so uncannily well done I fear Mr Theroux must be an extraordinarily experienced lover,I was a bit envious of the main character, but as a mix of fantasy and reality this made a remarkable
So thats my personal opinion, Theroux is a brilliant writer,and this is not a travel book
But beware,do NOT read if you have prudish tastes or dislike fantasy as part of normal healthy human behaviour!