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The Stranger at the Palazzo D'Oro by Paul Theroux
The Stranger at the Palazzo D'Oro is the title short story in this new collection from Paul Theroux. In this story, a 60-year old tells of his story when as a young American artist visiting Sicily, he found himself trading sexual services for a German countess in exchange for a room at the Palazzo D'Oro. It's envy and youth selling their soul for desire. The other stories concern an African farmer who loses everything he has in pursuit of a black woman, a retired Hawaiian man who lusts after his housekeeper and her daughter and is foiled in his attempts to possess them, and Massachusetts boys coming of age and dealing with the forced entry of sex into their lives. All the stories weave together themes of desire and lust, and the losses men suffer when pursuit of them becomes obsession. The Stranger at the Palazzo D'Oro has received mostly positive reviews with the San Francisco Chronicle saying, "Readers can be grateful that Theroux has once again channeled some of his secrets, sexual energy and sensibility -- complete with his signature 'rosy- hued lechery' -- into yet another stimulating volume in his impressive canon."