The stranger at the Palazzo d'Oro and other stories

by Paul Theroux

Paperback, 2004




Mariner Books (2004), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages


"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.… (more)

Media reviews

Meanwhile, Theroux can’t stay away from travel or sex for long, and in “An African Story,” an older, white South African farmer gets involved with a black woman and, sure enough, discovers her to need punishment: “sex is about power.” Material that still leaves you wishing Theroux would
Show More
chuck the imagineering and get his cantankerous self back on the road.
Show Less


Original language



Page: 0.1873 seconds