The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers

By Moritz Thomsen


After being thrown off his small farm on the Rioverde located in northern Ecuador after years of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer and then as a local farmer by his local partner Ramon, the 63-year-old author, embarks on a desperate journey on a second river—this one is in Brazil. The trek proves to be a time of reckoning, assessing and reflecting on his life, which he perceived was coming to an end.

This book would be the third of the author’s four literary masterpieces. The author had chosen this title from a line from Paul Theroux’s “Picture Palace,” on a comment by a French traveler, but in an interview by John Coyne of the Peace Corps Worldwide the author went on to say, “Well, we have illusions about the new places that we visit; they are almost always false to the reality. And the places we know change so rapidly that to go back is many times quite wrenching. Maybe it is sad to travel and learn that life’s a bitch in Nairobi and Manaus and Tokyo and Sydney…”

Book reviewed by Mark D. Walker
United States