PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: to access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
PN Review Prize winners announced
Carcanet Press and PN Review are delighted to announce the winners of the first ever PN Review Prize. read more
Most Read... Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue CELEBRATING JOHN ASHBERY Contributors include Mark Ford, Marina Warner, Jeremy Over, Theophilus Kwek, Sam Riviere, Luke Kennard, Philip Terry,Agnes Lehoczky, Emily Critchley, Oli Hazard and others Miles Champion The Gold Standard Rebecca Watts The Cult of the Noble Amateur Marina Tsvetaeva ‘My desire has the features of a woman’: Two Letters translated by Christopher Whyte Iain Bamforth Black and White

This review is taken from PN Review 57, Volume 14 Number 1, September - October 1987.

MISSOURI BREAKS Paul Theroux, O-Zone (Hamish Hamilton) £9.95

Now that a new academic orthodox view, in the wake of ventures by Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood and others, is proclaiming that science fiction is a women's field, peculiarly available for the exploration of alternative, feminist points of view, Paul Theroux has tried his hand at the genre too and what he has turned in is astonishing in its leaden triteness. At his best, in Saint Jack or Picture Palace or The Mosquito Coast, Theroux has been one of the most rewarding novelists now writing in English. So this departure is doubly disappointing. Time magazine's bestseller list and thousands of sci-fi buffs worldwide will tell a different story, but for my own taste O-Zone is Theroux's dreariest fiction to date.

O-Zone is a futurist initiation fiction, with sub-1984 satire on the ad absurdum abuses in cancerous late capitalism and a preacherly insistence on values, especially the value of resilience and survival. It is a long novel and attempts a great deal, and might have achieved particular effects better if it had been less of a welter.

The O-Zone (Outer Zone) of the title is an area of the United States, formerly Missouri, which at the time of Theroux's narrative (several decades into the future) is deserted and desolate following an 'excursion' of radiation: nuclear waste had been recklessly deposited underground, at a time which sounds suspiciously like our present day, and later rendered the above-ground uninhabitable. Two wealthy brothers, Hooper and Hardy, organize a titillating ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image