Paul Theroux’s first full-length play concerns Kipling’s humiliating final months as an American resident. The great English writer had toyed with the idea of staying in America for the whole of his life. After all, his wife was an American, and from a distinguished family. He had built his own house there, in Vermont, and had fallen in love with the Green Mountains. He was less happy about the townsfolk, whom he regarded as shiftless; and he despaired of his brother-in-law. This man, Beatty Balistier, was just about Kipling’s age – thirty-one. But Kipling was the most famous writer in the world, and Beatty was a jolly, drunken fellow whose fictions were confined to the saloon bar of Brooks Hotel in Brattleboro. Inevitably, the two young men clashed head-on and the result was a court action which was reported in all the major newspapers. Kipling had a horror of publicity, and this event was one of the worst experiences of his life. It marked him for another reason. In 1895 Britain and the United States were almost at war over a boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana. The sabre-rattling was heard in Brattleboro as the isolated Englishman faced his hostile neighbors and his impossible brother-in-law. One of the curious features of this experience is that Kipling – so philosophical and wise in his poems and stories – broke most of his own rules, and disobeyed the Law of the Jungle. In the end he cast himself out of his American Eden, but not before trying to have the last word.
Taken from Dust Jacket