Books: Bangs and Whimpers

THE FAMILY ARSENAL

by PAUL THEROUX

309 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $8.95.

By nature of their trade, terrorists are hard to get to know. Ordinarily, they keep a low profile. When they do call attention to themselves, it is usually too late for their victims to strike up a lasting acquaintance. Fiction, on the whole, is a better place than real life to meet mad bombers—safer and, as The Family Arsenal demonstrates, more fun.

Not that Paul Theroux's seventh novel is a joyride, but it is old-fashioned entertainment in the mode perfected by Graham Greene. Theroux sets an odd quartet to housekeeping in seedy south...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!