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The Great Railway Bazaar Paperback – June 1, 2006
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One of the most entertaining books I have read in a long while . . . Superb comic detail -- Angus Wilson * Observer * He has done our travelling for us brilliantly * William Golding * He has done our travelling for us brilliantly * William Golding * --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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That said, I did enjoy the story. It didn't get going until Theroux was leaving Turkey, but his impressions of India and points east were fun to read about. He was really hard on Afghanistan, which makes me wonder why we're still there, forty years later when nobody's opinion of the country and its hopelessness seems to have changed. It would be interesting to read what Theroux would write if he repeated his trip through Vietnam, now that the war has been over for nearly forty years. The desolation and emptiness of eastern Russia makes me glad I live here.
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.