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PAUL THEROUX’S TRIBUTE TO AMERICA’S “DEEP SOUTH”

09-21-2015

PAUL THEROUX’S FOUR SEASONS ROAD TRIP MAPS HIS TRIBUTE
TO AMERICA’S “DEEP SOUTH”
 
Theroux Highlights Favorite Passages From Each Southern Trip
+ U.S. Speaking Schedule
 
  
PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVE MCCURRY
 
NEW YORK - September 21, 2015 - Paul Theroux, one of the world’s preeminent travel writers and novelists, has spent five decades crossing the globe, chronicling the people and seeking the rich history of faraway places. Now, Theroux turns his global traveler’s eye and journalistic instincts to a fabled piece of America that has often been fictionalized, overlooked and rarely understood—the Deep South. 
 
His latest book, DEEP SOUTH: Four Seasons on Back Roads (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; on sale Sept. 30, 2015), celebrates the region through a classic, unhurried 4,300-mile American road trip.  For those seeking to follow in his footsteps along the back roads of the Deep South, route maps of each seasonal trip are above. 
 
Memorable passages from the book that describe experiences from each season include:
 
Fall: I said I was a stranger here. “Ain’t no strangers here, baby,” she said, and gave me a merry smile. The South, I was to find, was one of the few places I’d been in the world where I could use the word ‘merry’ without sarcasm. “I’m Lucille.”
 
Winter: “We were afraid to come out at night,” Reverend Lyles said. “And much later the whites were worried too. Even today they’re worried yet, thinking, The blacks you beat back then might recognize you. So that keeps people apart, that fear.” He shook his head. “Ones born today don’t know how it was.”
 
Spring: Aiken was the complete Southern town, and though it was of modest size, it was in character larger than life and had a number of claims on my attention….Aiken’s big houses – some of them manor houses – were lovely and well maintained, and the main part of the town was laid out on symmetrical broad boulevards. Aiken was Southern in its disparities: mansions on the boulevards here at the center, shacks on the notorious streets at the periphery, and racetracks, polo fields and the occasional gun show at the fairgrounds, and this week, the Imperial Cup Steeplechase.
 
Summer: When had I ever I felt this way, reluctant to go back to my desk, not wanting the trip to end, this procrastinating sense that, even after a year and a half of being on the road, between the Southern salutations of Lucille’s “Be blessed” at the start and Charles Portis’s “Be careful” at the end, I wished to keep going? That same St. Louis poet had also written, “Old men ought to be explorers.” I could have kept on, easily, on this rare trip that was a cure for homesickness. Because the paradox of it all was that though I had come so far – miles more than I ever had in Africa or China – I had never left home. 
 
Paul Theroux’s U.S. Speaking Schedule
 
BOSTON
Harvard Bookstore, Brattle Theatre, Tuesday, 9/29 at 6:00pm ET
 
WASHINGTON, DC
Politics & Prose, Wednesday, 9/30 at 7:00pm ET
 
NEW YORK 
New York Public Library, in conversation with Charlie Rose, Wednesday, 10/7 at 7:00pm ET
 
ATLANTA
Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, interviewer Chuck Reece (of the Bitter Southerner), Thursday, 10/8 at 7:00pm ET
 
NASHVILLE, TN
The Southern Festival of Books, panel 10/11 at 12:00pm CT
 
OXFORD, MS
Square Books (Off Square Books location), Monday, 10/12 at 5:00pm CT
 
LOS ANGELES
Live Talks LA, in conversation with Pico Iyer, Tuesday, 10/13, 8:00PM
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