On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey

By Paul Theroux


I’ve travelled much of the world over the last forty years thanks to Paul Theroux’s many books which now number 56. I was especially eager to read this book since I’ve made the journey through Mexico several times with my wife in a car (VW bug) and a pick-up truck, so I was familiar with some of the challenges, dangers not to mention adventures the author would encounter.

The “Godfather of Travel Writing” follows his own critique for what makes a superior travel book, “not just a report of a journey, but a memoir, an autobiography, a confession, a foray in South America a topography and history, a travel narrative, with observations of books, music, and life in general; in short, what the best travel books are, a summing up.”

This book includes countless memorable descriptions of Mexico’s landscapes and insight into the country’s history, and literary including Mexican magical realism and political movements such as the Zapatistas.

Book reviewed by Mark D. Walker
United States