This is an absolutely fantastic novel. It works so well because Theroux refuses to let the reader make up their mind about whether to admire or detest the obsessive and maniacal central character, Allie Fox, as he plunges his family deeper and deeper into despair. His misguided search for what he sees as an alternative to the American dream is almost compelling, but the effect that this has on those who love him becomes increasingly disturbing as the plot unwinds. Theroux controls this balance brilliantly. I read this when I was in Central America, but it's so absorbing that I could have been anywhere! Not a light-hearted read by any stretch, but the pages turn very quickly and I just couldn't put it down. Very strongly recommended.