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Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar Paperback – August 6, 2009
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Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
His latest is classic Theroux - observant, infinitely inquisitive (almost nosy), insatiably curious. Few can afford the time, money or emotional strain it would take to complete a journey like this. Consequently, it's wonderful to have a traveler (the author's familiar reference to himself) of this caliber to do it for us. Mostly by land from London, through Eastern Europe, the Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Japan and home across Russia. I, for one, don't know how he manages to leave his loving wife for that long.
Some have called the author a misanthrope. I don't think that at all. One particular act, which I won't spoil by revealing, distinguishes the man from your average humanity-hater. I appreciated how he usually searched out the oldest rickshaw-wallahs and taxi drivers, people his age who haven't been as fortunate.
I take his observations of annoying people as part of the landscape of a trip of this magnitude. It was inevitable that he'd come across slovenly, boorish, clueless tourists that deservedly reaped the wrath of his rapier wit. I particularly enjoy Theroux's slicing and dicing of holier-than-thou missionaries. When he begins a description of someone he runs into with sly, almost vicious adjectives, look out. You know the game is about to begin.
I share a lot of the author's opinions, especially when he compares lawyers to prostitutes and expresses nothing but disdain for weak-handed politicians and substance-less celebrities.Read more ›
Small portions of Ghost Train are a bit trite: a place is developed or more populous, so it is not as nice as in the good old days; another place is still great (for the traveler) because it hasn't been modernized. Some of Theroux's favorite villain types appear as in earlier works: the shallow young backpacker, the boorish inconsiderate traveler, the overconfident ignoramus; on the political level the villains include dictators, Chinese government exploitation of third world countries, and soulless bureaucrats.Read more ›
This new book re-traces that epic adventure. Theroux is older, wiser, more affluent but still like a small boy in many ways. His observations regarding what is different now and what has stayed the same are thorough and entertaining. His interactions with the people he meets along the way are little treasures.
As Theroux passes from place to place we get a sense of the world that informs us at the deepest level. The devastation the tsunami brought to Sri Lanka becomes real to us. Cambodia is truly a country of ghosts.Vietnam is vibrant and youthful. Laos is primitive. Singapore a repressive zombie state. The country formerly known as Burma is simply repressive but Theroux is delighted to meet people there who remember him from his first time through.
He tracks down his peers, writers like Orhan Pamuk in Turkey, Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka, Haruki Murakami and Pico Iyer in Japan. And he sees people reading his books. He watches with voyeuristic delight as a fellow passenger peruses "The Mosquito Coast." He can't resist informing this young female backpacker that I WROTE THAT.
An amazing adventure - Theroux is at the top of his game here. He devotes only a half page to China. This omission is by design. Theroux doesn't conceal his feelings or his opinions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“I’m the same too, but aged – wearier, frailer, fractured, abused, weaker, shabbier, spookier.” – from GHOST TRAIN TO THE EASTERN STAR
“Delay and dirt are the realities... Read more
What is there not to like? Traveling + Paul Theroux....what more can be said? Perfect book. Thank You Paul.Published 1 month ago by mars
Paul Theroux is unique in many ways. I think that he knows himself and lives his life as an independent thinker, and that is why I appreciate his travel books. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Vivian F.
Great details and historical knowledge gives this an in depth view of locations in this journey. Long but a great read!Published 5 months ago by Vinod Viswalingam
Refer to my review of the same author's "The Great Railway Bazaar" for comments on this companion work.Published 5 months ago by Guy Hayden
Very interesting read,enjoy Mr Theroux's travel writings. Would love to be able to do similar travels.Published 7 months ago by Paul Troyer