Press Release

Paul Theroux’s Latest Novel to be Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Scores Trifecta of Starred Early Reviews

BOSTON -- The Lower River (on sale May 22), the latest work from prolific travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux, is electrifying early critics.  Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly gave the novel starred reviews, reserved for a small percentage of books.

Booklist compared Theroux to noted novelists Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad: “[Theroux] wrestles with questions of good intentions and harsh reality,” the reviewer wrote. “A gripping and vital novel that reads like Conrad or Greene.”

Kirkus said “Theroux has recaptured the sweep and density of his 1981 masterpiece The Mosquito Coast.  That’s some achievement."

The Lower River follows Ellis Hock as he flees his marriage for Malawi, the small African country where he once worked as a young teacher in a village. Hock has high hopes for the village, but instead finds its inhabitants ravaged by poverty and full of deception. Their lies soon ensnare him.

Malawi has long attracted Theroux who moved there in 1963 as a member of the Peace Corps.  He faced some controversy there though, as he was eventually thrown out of the country for helping a political opponent of Malawi’s prime minister. “The Lower River is the result of a great deal of travel, of thought, of experience of Africa,” Theroux said.

Paul Theroux has published 32 novels and 16 works of nonfiction, including Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, and The Great Railway Bazaar.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade & Reference Division 
With nearly two-centuries of award-winning history, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade and Reference Division continues to publish some of the most renowned novels, non-fiction, children’s books and reference works, Mariner Books trade paperbacks and ebooks.  Its distinguished author list includes eight Nobel Prize winners, 47 Pulitzer Prize winners, 13 National Book Award winners, and more than 100 Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. HMH publishes such distinguished authors as Philip Roth, Temple Grandin, Tim O'Brien, and Umberto Eco, as well as The Best American series®, The American Heritage® family of dictionaries, The Gourmet Cookbook and other culinary classics, the Peterson Field Guides and books by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Along with a celebrated lineup of children’s authors, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group is the publisher of some of the best-loved children's books and book characters including Curious George, The Little Prince and The Polar Express.  For more information, visit