Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Deep South by Paul Theroux

Deep South by Paul Theroux

I am a lifelong Southerner and I thoroughly enjoyed Deep South.  I've read that some people were offended by his focus on the backwardness and poverty of the South.  Yes, he says at the outset that he is going to travel the back roads and avoid anything touristy and he does just that.  If you wanted a book on the "New South," you've got the wrong book. 

He travels the back roads, stopping to talk to people at roadside cafes, attends small country churches, and talks to small farm owners.  He points out that much of the poverty that he sees is very much like the poverty that he has seen in his travels to third world countries.  Only there is no billions of foreign aide going to the impoverished people of the small Southern towns.  Many of the towns were devastated by the move of manufacturing to cheaper overseas plants.  

My one complaint about the book is that he occasionally wanders off the travelogue and into philosophical discussions of Southern literature.  As long as he stays with his journey and the people he meets, the book is first rate. 


Rambling Woods said...

I am going to look at this book as being up in NY., I don't know a lot about the south...

Hattie said...

I liked the book but felt he did not really relate to the people there but more to their circumstances. I don't think he explained to me, a northerner, how Southerners are different.