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Tief im Süden (DuMont Reiseabenteuer):…
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Tief im Süden (DuMont Reiseabenteuer): Reise durch ein anderes Amerika (2017. Auflage)

von Paul Theroux (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
4612241,735 (3.62)26
"One of the most acclaimed travel writers of our time turns his unflinching eye on an American South too often overlooked. Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America--the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation's worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates. It's these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux's keen traveler's eye. On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road 'the plantation.' He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families--the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without. From the writer whose 'great mission has always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself--and thus, to challenge us' (Boston Globe), Deep South is an ode to a region, vivid and haunting, full of life and loss alike"--… (mehr)
Mitglied:hahehei
Titel:Tief im Süden (DuMont Reiseabenteuer): Reise durch ein anderes Amerika
Autoren:Paul Theroux (Autor)
Info:DUMONT REISEVERLAG (2017), Ausgabe: 1, 616 Seiten
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek, Non-Fiction, gelesen 2021, Kirchstr
Bewertung:****1/2
Tags:Reisebericht, USA, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, 2020

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Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads von Paul Theroux

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nonfiction (casual conversations with people in the deep south). parts of this were dull (I am a traveling writer, I follow in the footsteps of other traveling writers, here are some famous writers who wrote about their travels, here is what I think about what they wrote) but there was also a lot of information revealed just by Theroux's driving around, stopping people, and starting conversations. The South is a complex place with complex problems, and these problems need to be attended to before we can expect to ease any of this unrest. That said, there are still a lot of perspectives that aren't necessarily covered here, but it is a more complete picture than you might have otherwise. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Yet again, another fine travel book from the man who invigorated the genre fifty years ago. Paul Theroux was a Boy Scout of America. So, he retains the ethic of doing a proper job when completing a work of writing. In this case, he visits his own country, the Deep South part of it and records it (dutifully, I suppose is the word I'd use).
The ancient grievances still remain. What is different is the way they are implemented. The issues that cause the greatest difficulty are poverty (white and black); the terrible loss of jobs through NAFTA; political neglect (and here Theroux is harsh on the largesse in loans and aid that is sent out of the USA to Africa, for instance, in comparison to the minor amounts to provide economic stimulus at home - aid for distress that is as dire in Alabama, Mississippi, for example, as it is in Africa).
I've loved every travel book this man wrote (they are the only books I cannot put down, once started) - he holds no axe to grind, and is a faithful recorder.
  ivanfranko | Apr 5, 2021 |
Paul Theroux is a well-known travel writer. I do not know the genre well, but since I travel quite a bit and enjoy traveling, I have always wanted to try one of his books. I grew up in the South, have fond memories, along with some troublesome ones, of my childhood there and have always enjoyed Southern fiction. So Deep South by Paul Theroux seemed to be a great place to start. I think Mr. Theroux's objective was admirable: to explore the deep South on repeated visits to really get to know the people and places. He traveled solo and by car. He attempted to stay to the backroads and visit primarily smaller towns, his feeling being that the smaller towns were the true representation of the South. Based on his travels, he defined the Deep South as Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina. He spent little time in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia or other southern states.

I enjoyed many of the personal stories related in Deep South and getting to know the individuals behind the stories. In exploring the smaller Southern towns, Mr. Theroux provided great insight into the very slow pace of cultural change and the excessive poverty still manifested in these areas. It was certainly disheartening to me to hear about the lack of progress. But I also felt Mr. Theroux provided a very slanted view the South and the overall progress within the region. He chose not to visit the cities, even though he stated that significantly greater progress and cultural change had taken place in the cities. When you choose to only visit areas where poverty is prevalent and cultural change has been slow, your story is going to be one-sided. He describes southerners as in general not owning books or reading, as compared I assume to the rest of the USA. I would think that individuals and families below the poverty line or barely above it are going to spend their money on food, clothing and housing, rather than on books. Mr. Theroux's description of the South indicated that this region was home to the worst poverty in the nation, but his comments made it sound like poverty did exist in other parts of the country. During his travels, Paul Theroux visited the sites of some of the most horrific civil rights incidents, recounting these stories for the reader. These stories are part of the history of the region, but by inserting into his travelogue, he was mixing past and present that misrepresented the current state of the region to the reader.

In addition to what I felt was a very unbalanced survey of the South, Mr. Theroux's opinions hit me as arrogant and pretentious. He seems to have a high opinion of himself as a writer and public figure. He regularly expressed surprise when his name and his work were not recognized. The situations where he did meet someone with whom he could discuss books and literature he described as rare to the extent it was like an alien to the planet finding another of his kind. He reviewed the work of many Southern fiction writers as if his opinion was definitive. Completely separate from anything to do with the South, he treated jokingly and critically the difference between comic books and graphic novels. After noting this so-called difference, he used the term comic books exclusively going forward.

I would hope that some of Paul Theroux's books would provide a more balanced perspective of the area being visited, but after my experience with Deep South, I am not sure I want to explore further. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
After five decades spent exploring and writing about the far-flung and exotic places of the world, Paul Theroux has looked to his home country for inspiration. America has always been a place of contrasts and there is none as stark as the differences between the rest of America and the Deep South. Unlike his other journeys, this is one difference; he can climb in his car and drive there. So he does, leaving his home and traveling to the area over the course of four seasons. Each time he catches up with friends made from the previous visit, dodges twisters, sees new places and experiences fresh things.

The American South has a long history, there are deeply ingrained attitudes and prejudices, widespread poverty, high unemployment and collectively some of the worst performing schools in the country. The contradiction is that he has some of the warmest welcomes, listens to some brilliant music and eats probably too much of the fine local cuisine. He will talk to anyone regardless of colour or status, the mayor, the homeless, authors, church leaders, gun traders and those that stood up to segregation. The stories that he draws out from these people in his return trips vary from the fascinating to the sad, there are happy moments and some frankly horrifying stories.

Theroux tells it as it is, not seeking to judge those he meets, but to let them tell their story in their own words. What comes across is a part of a nation that feels unwanted. The fantastic but equally melancholic photos by Steve McCurry show just how abandoned and derelict some of the towns are, haunted only by ghosts and echoes from the past. It is a poignant book, one that shows just how tough life is there. It is my first book by Paul Theroux, even though I have had a number of his books sitting on my shelves for ages, and it definitely won’t be my last. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
An unusual journey for Theroux, who usually travels by public transport, in a line, dropping in on people and communities and getting one impression. Here, he makes four trips South, one in each season, and takes people at their word when they encourage him to come back again to find out more. This gives a real depth and more humanity to his book and, I think, shows him at his best. He says himself that he gets more depth and nuance this way, and also sees the small but important adjustments in communities and people. he also travels easily on good roads, so the usual travel writer’s content of moaning about terrible trains and delays at airports is just not there and he can concentrate on other things.

His humanity really comes across; he takes time to get to know people and find out their stories, and stops where he likes, as he has no plan or rail timetable. He’s genuinely angry, for example that the Clinton Foundation and other US charities give so much to other countries but seem to ignore and do nothing to help the horribly poor communities living below the poverty line in their own country (obviously, this attitude can lead to that awful thing where people complain about foreign aid budgets: he stops well short of that and it’s about helping these people as well as, not instead of, the similar communities Theroux has encountered on other continents). He gets behind the “raging politeness” of the South to find a polite and welcoming but wary and multi-levelled community and reception.

Theroux has his usual railings about people like Thoreau and at Faulkner and others for making the South look so gothic but ignoring the racism and racial inequality in their line of sight. This is part of an erudite and wide-ranging discussion of travel writers and fiction authors who have taken the South as their subject, though, good and bad. He even meets a few writers, though one hero is very slippery. He’s deeply respectful towards most of the people – definitely the genuinely struggling ones – who he meets, and highly attuned to nuance and awkwardness, even though he can be his usual grumpy and scathing self, for example at a literature festival he attends. He also has the respect to write in detail – but not gratuitously – about racially motivated crimes, and lays out their details and who has written about them as well as tracing the places they occurred. He has an interesting interlude on the “n” word, and, while he is respectful and understanding of the folk at gun shows, he certainly doesn’t support a lot of their claims, and makes that clear. To summarise: he’s human and humane and lives up to what you’d expect of him.

The sociology of the book is fascinating, especially his many encounters with small-motel-owning people with the surname Patel. As he memorably says, it’s like a load of Southern Baptists called Smith suddenly run half the paan-selling shacks in India. This is part of “non-linear ethnic niches” where there’s no underlying ethnic reason for a group of people running a lot of similar businesses, for example, it’s not like people from Beijing opening Chinese restaurants in the UK, but is like the proliferation of Greek-owned fish and chip shops. I loved all these investigations and details.

A lovely, depressing journey highlighting wonderful small self-help initiatives and interesting characters, as well as grinding, inescapable poverty and institutionalised racism that is shocking but sadly not surprising (but it should be!). He doesn’t give any real answers but then he’s not there to provide them, but to observe. And in his crumpled, older man way, often now mistaken for someone of no real importance, that’s what he does.

PS: he expresses a love for the “other” Elizabeth Taylor amidst a list of authors – hooray – although he does describer her as a short story writer. ( )
  LyzzyBee | Sep 22, 2019 |
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"One of the most acclaimed travel writers of our time turns his unflinching eye on an American South too often overlooked. Paul Theroux has spent fifty years crossing the globe, adventuring in the exotic, seeking the rich history and folklore of the far away. Now, for the first time, in his tenth travel book, Theroux explores a piece of America--the Deep South. He finds there a paradoxical place, full of incomparable music, unparalleled cuisine, and yet also some of the nation's worst schools, housing, and unemployment rates. It's these parts of the South, so often ignored, that have caught Theroux's keen traveler's eye. On road trips spanning four seasons, wending along rural highways, Theroux visits gun shows and small-town churches, laborers in Arkansas, and parts of Mississippi where they still call the farm up the road 'the plantation.' He talks to mayors and social workers, writers and reverends, the working poor and farming families--the unsung heroes of the south, the people who, despite it all, never left, and also those who returned home to rebuild a place they could never live without. From the writer whose 'great mission has always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself--and thus, to challenge us' (Boston Globe), Deep South is an ode to a region, vivid and haunting, full of life and loss alike"--

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