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The Great Railway Bazaar Paperback – June 1, 2006
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As a boy, Paul Theroux seldom heard a train go by without wishing he were on it. After following his dream of exploring many countries of the world by rail, this book focuses on Asia and is considered a classic of travel writing.
Things grey and dull leaving London turn increasingly bizarre as he continues East on the Orient Express, The Teheran Express, The Kyber Mail, on through India to Singapore and Japan, linking with the Trans-Siberian Express. The dedication he writes is "to the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned, to my brethren in their sorrow overseas . . ." The reader comes to understand what these grim words mean as his journey unwinds. He writes with a steady, tolerant eye, focusing on the extremely varied characters with whom he shares his club and sleeping cars.
The author may not be able to be called a "misanthrope" in the strict definition of the word, but he comes close. So this is our traveling companion in the otherwise "great railway bazaar," and there is no letup in the way that he sees and experiences life.