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!Download ♋ The Mosquito Coast ♗ In a breathtaking adventure story, the paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they ve left Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions lead the family toward unimaginable danger I do research in spoken language technology, building software that people can talk to Right now, our main project is an app that lets beginning language students practice their speaking skills if you re interested, you can find outhere We have been working on it for about three and half years, and so far we don t really know if it s a good idea or not We get mixed messages from the people who have tried it out Some of them are enthusiastic and say it s really improved their French or I do research in spoken language technology, building software that people can talk to Right now, our main project is an app that lets beginning language students practice their speaking skills if you re interested, you can find outhere We have been working on it for about three and half years, and so far we don t really know if it s a good idea or not We get mixed messages from the people who have tried it out Some of them are enthusiastic and say it s really improved their French or Japanese Others complain about this and that not fast enough, speech recognition isn t sufficiently reliable, doesn t let you practice enough different things We continue with it, because we believe in the basic concept, but it s quite possible we re just going down a dead end I read this book about 25 years ago, when I was starting out in this field, and it s a frightening parable for anyone who works with new technology Ally Fox is a gifted engineer who completely lacks any kind of common sense He conceives an insane plan to move his family to Honduras and set up house in the jungle He will build an enormous refrigerator and make large quantities of ice The near savage inhabitants of the area have never seen ice For no particular reason, Fox is convinced that they will be amazed and thrilled by it They locate a good spot to pitch camp, they build their house and their monster refrigerator, but no one comes asking for ice Fox decides he has to go to the clients He wraps up some big blocks of ice, insulating them as well as he can, and sets off to find his user base If you re in the tech innovation business yourself, you will probably find this book fascinating But be warned that it could also give you nightmares It s a hard book to categorise, this one coming of age yarn, adventure story, literary fiction Well, in truth, all of the above I d read one of the author s renowned travel books which I thoroughly enjoyed but this was my first experience of his fiction And a pretty good experience it turned out to be.Allie Fox is an engineer, an inventor and a bombastic know it all Fed up with America it s fast food, television, religion and pretty much everything else he surprises his family one day It s a hard book to categorise, this one coming of age yarn, adventure story, literary fiction Well, in truth, all of the above I d read one of the author s renowned travel books which I thoroughly enjoyed but this was my first experience of his fiction And a pretty good experience it turned out to be.Allie Fox is an engineer, an inventor and a bombastic know it all Fed up with America it s fast food, television, religion and pretty much everything else he surprises his family one day by packing up the car and decamping, with them in tow, to the jungles of Honduras A bit drastic Well not for Allie He d already demonstrated that to his own satisfaction at least he knewthan anyone else about just about everything, so this was his opportunity to identify a new audience and some virgin territory in which to build his ideal world.In truth, the first section of the book pre the moonlight flit was high octane stuff Allie, despite his downsides, did actually demonstrate that he was quite a clever bloke and he did seem to have some good ideas and decent engineering skills His encounters with just about everyone he came across, though, ended with him ranting about just how rubbish everything he d not himself invented was It was, at times, hilarious Once the family Allie, his wife and four children had reached deepest jungle territory the tempo dropped and, for me, the book went into a temporary lull The energy had gone out of the story and it was noticeable that it only picked up whenever Allie was centre page Thankfully, this was only temporary The final section of the book became a wild adventure as the family s future was thrown into the balance and they were forced to confront the confirmation that Allie was not always right The tale is narrated by Charlie, the eldest son Through his initially na ve, teenage eyes we witness these events unfolding and bear witness to his inner thoughts It s all very cleverly done We see Charlie grow up before our eyes as he gradually discovers the truth about his domineering father and is faced with important decisions which could decide the ultimate fate of the family.Some great characters are introduced along the way I particularly loved Mr Haddy and it s by and large a very entertaining romp Though, that s probably not doing it justice It saccurately a fine work of fiction by a writer who obviously hasthan one string to his bow If you ve yet to experience the power and dexterity of Theroux s prose than I d urge you to grab one of his book and give it a try Whether you choose his fact or his fiction, I d wager you ll be amused and charmed by his ability to put words on a page Sometimes you just have to say, this is not the book for me I could plow through it for the sake of my book club, but why put myself through 3 or 4 hours of angst and misery, reading about a wildly dysfunctional family trying to create their own utopia in the jungles of the Honduras In an intellectual way I appreciate that the father, Allie Fox, is an amazing character, but he s just painful for me to read about It was like fingernails on a chalkboard He pursues one scheme after another, with Sometimes you just have to say, this is not the book for me I could plow through it for the sake of my book club, but why put myself through 3 or 4 hours of angst and misery, reading about a wildly dysfunctional family trying to create their own utopia in the jungles of the Honduras In an intellectual way I appreciate that the father, Allie Fox, is an amazing character, but he s just painful for me to read about It was like fingernails on a chalkboard He pursues one scheme after another, with his family deep in poverty He thinks society and technology are degenerate unless it s something he himself has invented He s brilliant, loud mouthed, rude, abusive to his family, mentally unbalanced, a know it all, and doesn t listen to anyone It s a combination guaranteed to drive me nuts in real life, and I just can t enjoy reading about him, or what he puts his poor wife and kids through.So I skipped to the end and read the last few pages Don t tell my husband he hates when I do that sorrynotsorryDNF 22% Paul Theroux understands fathers and sons like few authors I have read, but I still struggle with Allie Fox s descent into madness Part of me feels that we are supposed to struggle with his descent, to feel pity and empathy for him, but part of me feels that I am expected to feel anger and hate towards him things I do not and can not Whether this is the failure of the author or the reader is beyond me, but it is enough to drop this book out of my true favorites and it was one of my favouri Paul Theroux understands fathers and sons like few authors I have read, but I still struggle with Allie Fox s descent into madness Part of me feels that we are supposed to struggle with his descent, to feel pity and empathy for him, but part of me feels that I am expected to feel anger and hate towards him things I do not and can not Whether this is the failure of the author or the reader is beyond me, but it is enough to drop this book out of my true favorites and it was one of my favourites before my most recent rereading , making it a mere curiosity that I am compelled to return to once every decade Of course, that in itself tells me that The Mosquito Coast is definitely worth the time I spend immersed in its world, but I can t help wanting to apportion blame to myself or Theroux or both of us with a degree of certainty.TheI read Theroux s work, however, theI think that he and I are simply incompatible We are that high school couple that should fit perfectly but don t I want to love him, but I can t, and I think it is about time we break up C est la lecture I am shocked that Paul Theroux has written such a book I am shocked that he wanted to have it published with him as its author I read it to the very end I thought there had to be something good here, something I was missing, but no, it gets worse and worse as you go Don t even consider reading this Phew, I am so glad it is over The story is set in the late 70s, early 80s The central protagonist is an American going by the name of Allie Fox He is married, has a son of thirteen years, a yo I am shocked that Paul Theroux has written such a book I am shocked that he wanted to have it published with him as its author I read it to the very end I thought there had to be something good here, something I was missing, but no, it gets worse and worse as you go Don t even consider reading this Phew, I am so glad it is over The story is set in the late 70s, early 80s The central protagonist is an American going by the name of Allie Fox He is married, has a son of thirteen years, a younger son of ten and twin girls, five years of age He believes America is doomed He rails at consumerism, all foreigners and foreign products, fat people and fast foods and lots of other things too Basically, he is critical of everything American, but keep in mind that back in the 70s this was a common sentiment He is rude, obnoxious, abusive, arrogant and always thinks he knows best about everything What comes out of this guy s mouth gets on your nerves I searched very hard to find something to like about him I try to be fair All I can come up with is that he is not lazy and rather than only complaining, he takes steps to change the situation he dislikes So, he picks up his family and leaves America for Honduras There is no discussion In this family, he is the boss He is off to the tropics to show it is possible to live in another way.Allie is an inventor he is great at making mechanical gadgets He has created an ice making machine, the genius of it being that it runs without electricity In the tropics such a machine is sure to be an immediate success and highly appreciated Ice is a preservative, alleviates pain and reduces swelling He and his family are there for a little bitthan one year The story is about what happens there.The book looks at those individuals that go against the current This is theme number one Allie is such a man, but his behavior is so excessive and so exaggerated that it loses credibility A second theme is the relationship between Allie and his two sons In this respect it is also a coming of age story, about freeing one s self from parental ties A corny teenage love attraction and family squabbles are thrown in for good measure Make no mistake, this is an adventure story It is intended to excite, to thrill and incite horror This is not my cup of tea It may be yours.The story is too long and drawn out What occurs is so implausible it totally boggles the mind.The characters are black and white cutouts They are flat They represent typical kinds of people rather than being complicated and nuanced as people really are I grappled with what the book s message was meant to be That traditional ways of doing things are to be valued That modern inventions can be taken too far That people often take comfort in the easy way out These are not groundbreaking ideas I do not think this book is intended to make you think It is intended to excite and scare you At best it could be said to be noisy and colorful.David Aaron Baker narrates the audiobook I have given his performance three stars He is performing, not simply reading the text, and I must admit this does fit the kind of book that it is It fits the book, but I did not like the book, so what does this say about the narration It says that it reinforces the unpleasant reading experience, but it seems unfair to me to blame a narrator for how a book is written It is not hard to follow Baker has a tendency to sing out the lines This annoyed me particularly in the beginning, but after a while I got used to it Non fiction Deep South Four Seasons on Back Roads 4 stars The Old Patagonian Express By Train Through the Americas 4 stars Ghost Train to the Eastern Star 4 stars The Last Train to Zona Verde My Ultimate African Safari 4 stars Fiction The Mosquito Coast 1 star The Lower RiverTBRI will try onebook of fiction by the author Did I try the wrong book Is The Mosquito Coast perhaps simply an exception Hell is the other people.But really When everything s going wrong one may like Zorba tell that s nothing to worry about or like Scarlett I ll think of it tomorrowor jack everything in and set off to look for promise land And so Allie does.Allie Fox, handyman and gifted inventor, disappointed with America, disgusted with consumer, corporate or whatsoever lifestyle, out of the blue packs his family and set off to Honduran jungle.But let s not be mislead by this idyllic picture Neither AmeHell is the other people.But really When everything s going wrong one may like Zorba tell that s nothing to worry about or like Scarlett I ll think of it tomorrowor jack everything in and set off to look for promise land And so Allie does.Allie Fox, handyman and gifted inventor, disappointed with America, disgusted with consumer, corporate or whatsoever lifestyle, out of the blue packs his family and set off to Honduran jungle.But let s not be mislead by this idyllic picture Neither America is so spoilt and devilish nor the brave new world that wonderful and flawless The story revolves around the danger illusion of creating new life, endurance and human ability to adapt for new circumstances Nature, its beauty and toughness at the same time clashes with the man who broke with life in the civilization jungle and went into the real one to make a new civilization.The sense of threat and growing madness, stifling atmosphere, jungle with its luxuriance, dizzying heat All that evokes a bit a choking atmosphere ofHeart of Darkness One can t admire Theroux s dexterity at depicturing main protagonist His personality shouts out from the very first page, his ideas are stunning, imagination has no bounds, arrogance has no limits.While reading I was pissed off at what Allie Fox has done and what he hasn t I was pissed off at his wife, unnamed what s a bit significant, I guess, so passive and inert I was pissed off at all the sufferings Allie brought on his family But finally I felt only relief And when everything s finished I couldn t even say what a beautiful catastrophe it was Setting off on a big international trip, I asked an eighty year old man with the reputation of being a wise counselor for his input on my destination options I was obsessing over this decision He responded, The place doesn t matter, because wherever you go, there you ll be He was hinting at the annoying truth that my character, not places or circumstances, was hindering my spiritual journey He was absolutely right.Paul Theroux wrote a classic book on heading for parts remote with spiritual Setting off on a big international trip, I asked an eighty year old man with the reputation of being a wise counselor for his input on my destination options I was obsessing over this decision He responded, The place doesn t matter, because wherever you go, there you ll be He was hinting at the annoying truth that my character, not places or circumstances, was hindering my spiritual journey He was absolutely right.Paul Theroux wrote a classic book on heading for parts remote with spiritual as well as physical baggage In The Mosquito Coast, Allie Fox leaves home for a barely mapped corner of Honduras He has the survival skill of a foot fungus Yet, he s a cruel bully married to a weak conflict avoider Thus, wherever they go, there they be.Harrison Ford and River Phoenix did a film version, but the novel is better Harrison does a masterful job portraying a guy who is too smart and independent for the world s bullshit He makes the character relatable, despite the demonic scourge Allie Fox is to his family.Watching the sought after Garden of Eden descend into the jungle from hell is rather shocking It seems like humanity has met the enemy, and it is us I highly recommend this work for all travel lovers not to promote chickening out and staying home but getting out and growing up Travel demands character but also instills it in those who are willing to learn You actually can hit the road and leave it all behind except yourself My introduction to the fiction of Paul Theroux is The Mosquito Coast and readers in search of the Great American Novel would be hard pressed to find athrilling definition of the term Not that there haven t been novels of high literary merit set in mundane locations, but the Great American Novel takes its characters on a great journey physically, spiritually, often both and says something definitive about the U.S.A in the era in which it is set Published in 1982, this novel achieves th My introduction to the fiction of Paul Theroux is The Mosquito Coast and readers in search of the Great American Novel would be hard pressed to find athrilling definition of the term Not that there haven t been novels of high literary merit set in mundane locations, but the Great American Novel takes its characters on a great journey physically, spiritually, often both and says something definitive about the U.S.A in the era in which it is set Published in 1982, this novel achieves that, introducing an ingenious but self destructive man whose obsessions drag his family off the map, where he s determined to keep gambling on his grandiose ideas until he has nothing left to lose.The story is narrated by Charlie Fox, a fourteen year old who lives with his family outside of Hatfield, Massachusetts Kept out of school with his younger siblings Jerry and twins April Clover, Charlie spends his time with Father, Allie Fox, an inventorNine patents, he liked to say, Six pendingwho dropped out of Harvard to get what he considered a real education Allie works for an asparagus farmer named Tiny Polski fixing things and inventing others, like a scale model box that generates ice from enriched ammonia and high pressure hydrogen without any electricity or gas Father dubs his invention Fat Boy.Polski refers to Fat Boy as a contraption and seeing no application for it on his farm, is largely unimpressed Father gives his working model to the migrant workers who live on the farm and who the inventor refers to with both admiration and derision as the savages What Allie Fox most likes to do other than take things apart is rant free trade, education, pollution, crime, energy, nutrition, entertainment the Foxes do not own a TV , etc A trip to a hardware store in Northampton is enough to push him past the boiling point He is far from optimistic about the direction the country is headed.I m the last man That had been Father s frequent yell.It was painful, back in my bed, in the dark unlocked house, not dreaming but thinking I felt small and shrunken Father, who believed there was going to be a war in America, had prepared me for his death All winter, he had been saying, It s coming something terrible is going to happen here He was restless and talkative He said the signs were everywhere In the high prices, the bad tempers, the gut worry In the stupidity and greed of people, and in the hoggish fatness of them Bloody crimes were being committed in cities, and criminals went unpunished It was not going to be an ordinary war, he said, but rather a war in which no side was entirely innocent Fat fools will be fighting skinny criminals, he said You ll hate one and be scared of the other It ll be national brain damage Who s left to trust Without telling Charlie what s going on, Father and his compassionate but obedient wife Mother take the children to Springfield to purchase tents, canteens, cotton cloth, needles and thread, mosquito netting, fifty pounds of hybrid seeds The field workers pay Father a visit, conferring over a map and giving him a machete as a gift Leaving everything except for the camping equipment and most of Father s tools, they drive to Balti and board a cargo vessel Charlie meets a family of missionaries, whose hip daughter Emily Spellgood takes a liking to him, and earns the confidence of Captain Smalls.Charlie is embarrassed by his father s humiliation of those he considers himself superior to The boy s encounters with Emily remind him just how abnormal the Foxes are and he s glad they re headed where no one will see him Mosquitia, the virgin jungle of Honduras Just as Polski tried to warn Charlie about his dadYour father s the most obnoxious man I ve ever met, Polski said He is the worst kind of pain in the neck a know it all who s sometimes vightthe captain advises Charlie that while the Indians live an easy life, for the Foxes, it will be like living in a zoo where the animals are free and he s the one in a cage.Upon landing in La Ceiba, Charlie is enchanted by the stillness of the port, but seeing it in the harsh daylight, finds it hot and stinking and chaotic Father, a fluent Spanish speaker, acquits himself wonderfully with strangers he wants to impress, such as a drunken German who for a sum of four hundred dollars, sells Allie his one acre farm someplace up the Aguan River known as Jeronimo Passage is booked on a launch piloted by Mr Haddy, a mariner who like everyone else, buckles under the willpower of Charlie s father, letting him steer the boat all the way up the river to their new home Jeronimo reminded me of one time when we were in Massachusetts, and fishing Father pointed to a small black stump and said, That s the state line there I looked at this rotten stump the state line Jeronimo was like that We had to be told what it was We would not have taken it for a town It had a huge tree, a trunk pillar propping up a blimp of leafy branches with tiny jays in it It was a guanacaste, and under it was a half acre of shade The remnants of Weerwilly s shack and his failure were still there, looking sad and accidental But these leftover ruins only made Jeronimo seem wilder this wet afternoon.Along with Mr Haddy, Father wins over a dozen Zambu Indians who live in the area, most of whom speak English, including a family squatting in Weerwilly s shack who Father asks to stay, putting them to work along with his family His first invention is a paddle wheel on the river that moves water through pipes into a bathhouse, where the settlement can wash clothes, bathe and boil water The natives remain dubious about the contraption, noting that water is readily available during the rainy season and can be fetched from the river with a bucket any time Father moves ahead Land is cleared, waterproof bamboo huts built and miracle seeds planted.Work begins on a silo Though Charlie recognizes what it is, Father keeps everyone else in suspense until a full scale version of Fat Boy delivers ice to the jungle Everything Allie Fox has promised food, water, shelter is achieved and other than an unannounced visit from a missionary who Father chases away, no one bothers them Mother is open to learning the Zambu ways for skinning and smoking meat or hanging peppers and the children build a hidden campsite with access to indigenous water and food, but Father becomes obsessed with spurring innovation and self sufficiency among Indians of the region.After failing to find an Indian settlement untouched by the white man along the river, Allie sets off with his gift of ice over the mountains, despite warnings from the Zambu thatThey always troubles there Contrabanders Shouljers Feefs People from Nicaragua wayTaking Charlie and Jerry, they find an Indian settlement which appears to have three English speaking slaves Father tells the captured men about Jeronimo and compels them to slip away When the men show up, armed with rifles, Allie realizes that it was the Indians who were being held prisoner by the soldiers, who decide to stay in Jeronimo indefinitely Allie finds this intrusion unacceptable The Mosquito Coast pushes its chips onto the table to tell an adventure story with ideas just as big as the trek the characters undertake At the time of its publication, Allie Fox may have seemed like an aberration, that uncle whose rants about society are endured once a year at Thanksgiving Thanks to social media, his type seem like they re everywhere today, white men disparaging everything from government to free trade to immigration to breakfast cereal to television Rather than parroting talk radio, Fox is able to think for himself, and demonstrate that his solutions are right nine times out of ten But when he s wrong, he s really, really wrong.Theroux appeals to that pioneer in us who suspects something is rotten in America and fantasizes about getting out of here, to take on virgin nature with our ingenuity and live free Fox s inventions with names like Thunder Box or Atom smasher are the creation of a wily engineer yet are described with the language of a natural storyteller I would have never thought there were forty different ways to beautifully and vividly describe a dirt poor country like Honduras, but Theroux does it, tickling our imaginations with his prose like National Geographic does with their color photographs as he describes the life of a jungle settler It was not an easy life these first weeks in Jeronimo It was no coconut kingdom of free food and grass huts and sunny days, under the bam, under the boo Wilderness was ugly and unusable, and where were the dangerous animals There was something stubborn about jungle trees, the way they crowded each other and gave us no shade I saw cruelty in the hanging vines and selfishness in their root systems This was work, andwork, and a routine that took up every daylight hour On the Unicornand in La Ceiba, and even in Hatfield, we had done pretty much what we pleased Father had left us alone and gone about his own business Usually I had helped him, but sometimes not Here, things were different.One aspect of the novel that comes up short for me is that Allie Fox overpowers every other character in the story He s a cue ball that strikes all the other balls on the table, moving them but only in relation to him I anticipated Charlie asserting himselfand mounting a battle of wills against his father as his decision making becomesquestionable, but this expectation was entirely of my own design and unfair to criticize the author for The Mosquito Coast may be best appreciated as a journal written by Charlie and documenting how, like America s action in Vietnam, Americans enter the jungle with too many resources, too many ideas and little by little, go insane.Theroux s novel served as the source material for an overlooked movie released in 1986 starring Harrison Ford as Allie Fox, Helen Mirren as Mother and River Phoenix as Charlie Fox Audiences were not sold on Ford playing something of a bad guy in a family tragedy and The Mosquito Coast was a commercial failure Working with Peter Weir, the Australian filmmaker who d directed Ford in Witness and has never made a bad movie, Ford is Allie Fox and gives a riveting performance completely against his virtuous type The movie is definitely worth a look THE MOSQUITO COAST is a marvelous novel by Paul Theroux Brilliant writing and great characters Highly recommended.