Paul Theroux on Power

The curfew — three years into my time in Africa — was my initiation into the misuse of power, of greed, cowardice and selfishness; as well as, also, their opposites — compassion, bravery, mutual aid and generosity.

~ Paul Theroux / NYT, 30th March 2020

Paul Theroux on Not Coming Back

You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Reliability

“Gain a modest reputation for being unreliable and you will never be asked to do a thing.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Enough

“In travel, as in many other experiences in life, once is usually enough.”

~Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Britain

“But what I liked in Aberdeen was what I liked generally in Britain: the bread, the fish, the cheese, the flower gardens, the apples, the clouds, the newspapers, the beer, the woolen cloth, the radio programmes, the parks, the Indian restaurants and amateur dramatics, the postal service, the fresh vegetables, the trains, and the modesty and truthfulness of people.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Defeat

“Borges, who said, “Defeat has a dignity which noisy victory does not deserve.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Serenity

“He was serene, fulfilled, the real thing, the person no one wants to hear about, a happy man.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Patience

“There’s always a way if you’re not in a hurry.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Life

“I cannot make my days longer, so I strive to make them better.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Travel

“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Muddles

“Don’t think you’re special just because of your muddle.”

~ Paul Theroux / My Other Life

Paul Theroux on Travel

“Travel is both a desire to flee and a desire for pursuit…”

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Being a Writer

And what was it that I most liked about my work? That I had no boss, no employees, no rivals, no competitors—the freedom of being a writer? That it was a way of dealing with my life, transforming my experiences, finding ways to understand it—recording life’s joys, making its tribulations bearable, and also, in writing, easing the passage of time? Making a living this way, my own way, self-employed—that was something to like.

Paul Theroux / On the Plain of Snakes

Paul Theroux on Belief

Belief gains strength in the absence of facts.

Paul Theroux / On the Plain of Snakes

Paul Theroux on Art

…but I felt that for art, for writing, for anything creative to have value, it must be passionate and personal.

Paul Theroux / On the Plain of Snakes