An idealistic & inspiring father & husband (but who is also fanatical & domineering in his own way) takes his young family to the jungle coast of central America to build their own paradise, away from his perceived debilitations of civilizations. But instead of taking his family on a grand adventure in search of the good life, he plunges them into a brutal struggle for mere survival. Sometimes hilarious but ever increasingly terrifying, Theroux spins a tale that is hard to put down.
This is a great book. It's not the most uplifting of tales but it is written beautifully, and so life like one has to wonder if it really is fiction. And the characters are so thoroughly flushed out, it's just an amazing, fast read and I do believe it provides a commentary oh life and the way people handle it. It's an adventure for sure.
Coast is King!, June 20, 2005
Reviewer: Glenn H. Teal (Temperance, MI United States) - See all my reviews
I read this book a good 12 years ago and it still haunts me. In fact there are a few passages I can almost quote verbatim and have used in talks to illustrate the desperate quest of the human heart for a life of significance. Which is after all what Theroux's masterful work is all about.
All the stuff about Allie Fox's travels to Central America is just a tremendously well told story that provides a context for Allie's deep desire to live a life that matters -- unlike the predictable and ordinary life his father led. Ultimately his horrific and predictable demise blinded on the beach is the logical result of a man gone mad with hubris. Memorable writing that stays with me to this day!
As good as I remembered, June 26, 2005
Reviewer: Julian Faigan (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
I read this novel when it first appeared and greatly enjoyed it. The evocative setting sticks in the memory, and I was very happy to find that I could read it again just this month with even greater enjoyment. While my first read was very hurried (as the story was so engrossing), on this second occasion I digested it very carefully. It was worth the effort: the plot moves at a good pace, the landscape is so beautifully described and the tricks of nature so realistic, you really feel you are sharing in the bizarre travels of Allie and his poor family. Yes, Allie is most annoying, as many readers have noted, and - yes - the mother should be more positive in her response to her husband's madness. But life is like this and "The Mosquito Coast" remains one of my all-time favourite novels.