2013 Reading: Half-Moon Street by Paul Theroux

halfmoonstreetHalf Moon Street: Two Short Novels by Paul Theroux was an enjoyable read. (Or listen, actually, as I heard the book in the car.) I’m not a fan of Theroux’s non-fiction travel narratives–he’s insufferably arrogant in those books–but I usually like his fiction. This is no exception.

First up is “Dr. Slaughter,” a novella about PhD in Political Economy who is on a fellowship at an Institute in London. Her field is China, but because her recently ended marriage was to a China specialist, she switches her studies to the Middle East. She’s voracious when it comes to men, and so when the opportunity to work in an escort agency comes to her, she grabs it. And things then get really interesting. The character of Lauren Slaughter is fascinating and the dialogue spot-on.

The second novella is O. Henry-ish. “Dr. DeMarr” is about Gerald and George DeMarr, a set of twins who are estranged after their father dies because he was the one who insisted on their close ties. After many years, George returns to see Gerald, but it doesn’t go well.

I much preferred the first of the two novella’s, but that might have been because of the reader. “Dr. Slaughter” is set in London and so it seems right that it is read by an English woman, even though the protagonist of the story is American. It gives the book a flair that is missing in the second one.

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