From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Fall Reads: Paul Theroux's "Mr. Bones"

MOST READ
Sohm looks at the color and how fine the mousse is — the fine streams of bubbles — a sign of great quality.

Wine and Spirits

How to Drink Grower Champagne

Legendary sommelier Aldo Sohm on rarer bubbles.

A Classic Martini

Wine and Spirits

A Classic Martini

A drink from New York City’s Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel

The Hoodie of the Future

Fashion

The Hoodie of the Future

British clothier Vollebak makes garments for today’s superhero.

In his travel writing, for which he is best known, Paul Theroux eschews the obvious pleasures of the genre for deeper, more acerbic observation. As the writer of more than 25 novels and a half-dozen story collections, he understands the importance of conflict. Few authors are as skilled at both fiction and nonfiction, as well as that particular Theroux specialty: quasi-fiction.

Several of the characters in his terrific new collection, Mr. Bones, are clearly plucked from life—the painter Andrew Wyeth makes an appearance, and two of the stories feature a shoe-salesman dad. (Theroux’s own father plied the trade.) Others, such as a shrewish New England art maven and a bumbling English author, are so incisively carved that figuring out whom they are based on becomes a kind of game.

Theroux’s masterful stories, several of them originally published in The New Yorker, evince a lifetime’s study of human nature around the globe. If they often end in a chilling twist, well, he’s just calling them like he sees them.

Mr. Bones, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, comes out September 30.

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.

Come On In

U.S. issued American Express Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members, enter the first six digits of your card number to access your complimentary subscription.

Learn about membership.