Spellbinding adventure story of a family that
rejects its homeland and tries to find a happier and
simpler life in the jungles of Central America. The
motivation comes from the father, Allie Fox, who is
a character in the classic American mold. A
cantankerous inventor, he is articulate, shrewd,
scornful, funny, very angry, and slightly cracked.
An individualist, Fox sees modern American culture
as a despicable combination of the wasteful, the
immoral, and the messy. Uprooting his family from
their Massachusetts farm home, he takes them off to
a primitive world in order to escape what he
considers the imminent breakdown of civilization.
The Mosquito Coast has the fascination of an
ironic version of Robinson Crusoe or a sardonic
Swiss Family Robinson, along with the deeper levels
akin to those of The Lord of the Flies. As a sheer
teller of tales Theroux is at the top of his form,
but he also succeeds as a moralist with a subtle
fable in mind.
The story is told with fresh innocence by the
fourteen year old Charlie, who observes his father
with a mixture of love, horror, and astonishment. He
describes the voyage, the trip into the interior,
his fatherís invention of a giant ice-making machine
(which is supposed to bring a new era to the
jungle), and all of the adventures that ensue.
Charlie watches as his father becomes ever more
obsessive, evermore lost to reality.