WALDO by Paul Theroux


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Paul Theroux is twenty-five years old with a savage eye and a sharp ear. Walde, his first novel, is the journey of an adolescent from a glass-door even in a detention school to a glass writer's cage suspended over a nightclub audience. It's short trip in miles but it takes him much too far. He leaves home (a grandmother he loves, stridently squabbling parents) and picks up Glovis, a wealthy, married woman who in return for certain attentions sends him to college, supports him and finally procures him a writer's job. This consists of an interview which turns into a soap-opera carnival act. Waldo's journey ends with the terrible truth that stories are ruthless, they devour and exploit and distort, and eventually Waldo sacrifices Clovis for a story.... Theroux records remarkably the choking platitudes mouthed by administrators, parents, wardens, teachers, plus all, young and old, who are trapped in their own small minds. He is imaginative, and just by bearing down hard on realistic situations creates a world reflecting all the macabre horror, humor and sadness of people trying to wring something out of experience. Not everybody's book -- but the talent is there.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1967
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin