Alexander Theroux: A Fan’s Notes

by Steven Moore

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Since the publication of his first novel in 1972, Alexander Theroux has won great acclaim for his dazzling style and forceful intellect. That first novel, Three Wogs, was named Book of the Year by Encyclopedia Britannica and nominated for the National Book Award, as was his second novel, Darconville’s Cat (1981), which Anthony Burgess called one of the 99 best novels of the 20th century. Since then Theroux has published numerous other books, won several awards, and has been the subject of academic studies and theses. In addition to Burgess, he has been praised by such writers as Saul Bellow, Guy Davenport, Robertson Davies, Fred Exley, Jonathan Franzen, William H. Gass, Norman Mailer, D. Keith Mano, Cormac McCarthy, James McCourt, Annie Proulx, John Updike, and Paul West.

Alexander Theroux: A Fan’s Notes is the first book-length study of Theroux’s complete body of work—novels, fables and short stories, nonfiction books, poetry, literary journalism—concluding with a chapter on his contentious relationship with his best-selling brother Paul Theroux. Critic Steven Moore, who has known Theroux for nearly 40 years and helped with the publication of some of his books, illuminates Theroux’s work in a scholarly yet accessible style. While appreciative of most of what Theroux has written, Moore doesn’t shirk from what he regards as some of his weaker efforts in order to provide a balanced, deeply informed evaluation of this singular writer. Moore’s book will appeal to Theroux fans as well as to students of modern American literature.

STEVEN MOORE (PhD Rutgers, 1988) is the author/editor of several books on William Gaddis, as well as of The Novel: An Alternative History (2010, 2013). From 1988 to 1996 he was managing editor of the Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press.

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