|The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro and Other Stories|
by Paul Theroux
Availability: Not available new from Amazon.com
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2004-01-12)
ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0618265155 / 9780618265152
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1149042
A 2004 Vacation Reading (selected by The New York Times)
“Sexual awakening (not necessarily at the right time or for the right object) is a constant in this rather clinical collection of a novella (which centers on an aging countess whose vanity demands the perpetual service of a young lover) and three short stories about older men ruined by inopportune attacks of desire.”
"This is my only story. Now that I am sixty I can tell it." He, the narrator, was a twenty-one-year-old art student traveling the world. She was a countess -- apparently cold, haughty, and inaccessible -- traveling with Haroun, her ambiguous companion. When the young man makes their acquaintance at a hotel in Sicily, he finds himself filled with unexpected lust and playing a part in something he doesn't quite understand. Filled with Theroux's typically effortless but devastating descriptions of people and places, The Stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro is a brilliant portrayal of aging and decay, a shocking tale of sensuality in a golden age.
The thrill and risk of pursuit and desire mark the accompanying stories of the sexual awakening and rites of passage of a Boston boyhood, the ruin of a writer in Africa, and the bewitchment of a retiree in Hawaii. This is Paul Theroux at his most allusive and wise, writing with a deep understanding of the frailties of men and boys.
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