Cover image for The saddest pleasure : a journey on two rivers : a memoir
The saddest pleasure : a journey on two rivers : a memoir
Thomsen, Moritz.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Saint Paul, Minn. : Graywolf Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
xiv, 276 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F2517 .T48 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Offers a personal look at the people, poverty, beauty, and passion of South America by an expatriate American who left his farm in Ecuador at the age of sixty-three to embark on a journey through Brazil on the Amazon River.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Thomsen, though American, has spent much of his adult life in Ecuador, first as a Peace Corps volunteer--his experiences chronicled in Living Poor (1971)--and later as a farmer, from which perspective he wrote his second book, The Farm on the River of Emeralds (1978). In this, his third work, Thomsen turns curmudgeonly; not since Paul Theroux (who, incidentally, provides an introduction) in his iconoclastic Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey around the Coast of Britain [BKL S 1 83] has a travel writer been so cranky. Though many critics and readers felt Theroux had no reason to be so negative toward his adopted homeland in Kingdom, it is perfectly understandable why Thomsen grousing. He relates how he was ejected from the farm in Ecuador he had worked so hard to make productive; leaving Ecuador, he went to Brazil, to wander and ponder. Sixty-three years old at the time, Thomsen, while gathering luscious impressions as he toured Brazilian cities and countryside, simultaneously reflects on the frailty of the flesh and the propensity of humans toward selfishness. His book more than successfully meets the requirements for superior travel writing. No index. --Brad Hooper

Library Journal Review

All travel narratives are self-revealing to some extent, but few go as far as this one. The author was a 1960s Peace Corp Volunteer in Ecuador who stayed on in an attempt to farm. (His account of his farming experience appeared in The Farm on the River of Emeralds, LJ 7/78). When that eventually fell through, Thomsen took a trip to Rio and up the Amazon River, which is the backdrop for this book. The author is an introspective, tormented, and bitter man, and he tells us much more about his failures and his struggles to face old age (he was 63 at the time of writing this) and death than many readers will want to know. Nonetheless, he is a brilliant writer, and in the process he gives us a view of South America that balances the more conventional travel writing and political commentary generally available.-- Harold M. Otness, Southern Oregon State Coll. Lib., Ashland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.