- Paperback: 404 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (November 7, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780395521052
- ISBN-13: 978-0395521052
- ASIN: 039552105X
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 82 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.97 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas Paperback – November 7, 1989
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
82 customer reviews
Review this product
Read reviews that mention
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Part of the charm of the book are the quick, sharp sketches of people Theroux meets on the way (not usually favorable) and the musings on the essence of the land he is traversing--its geography, its mood as well as the general condition of the local economy. Central America is phenomenally empoverished, down to the Stone Age level of heaps of huts and a few stray animals. His unvarnished view of the pitiable condition of these lands and their people gives you a better feeling for what life is like outside a developed nation, even Mexico, whose slums are posh compared to Nicaragua or Guatemala.
South America is not well known by Americans--did you know there is a Welsh settlement in Patagonia? It's amazing to take this train trip even with such a grouchy companion as Theroux. He's a marvelous writer and like all good journal writers, doesn't spare anything, even if it makes himself look less noble.
I read this before I ever traveled to Chile and then after and it really adds a lot of insight.
This one in particular fed into my wish to " someday" travel. I was a poor student who thought travel was only for the rich. I didn't realize you could do it cheaply - if you don't mind a few discomforts. It gave the information I needed to take journeys that expanded my world view.
The book reads like a diary of his travel from Boston to Tierra del Fuego, most of the time by train. Along the way he meets both ordinary & famous people - most of whom he dislikes. At the beginning of his train trip he meets a self-centered young woman who gives him a rundown of her dietary needs and "sensitivities." She is a the first of many people who will annoy and confound him. He also manages to meet luminaries like Jorge Luis Borges. Even Borges doesn't distract him from train" schedules", breakdowns, people, and misunderstanding that - he thinks - exist only to thwart his enjoyment. He hates everyone and everything but manages to describe it all in hilarious prose.
I know many people dislike his grouchy persona - they wonder why he even travels. Give him a break - he is like one of those old - fashioned uncles (at least in literature) who fill your head with wonderful images of far away places while complaining about the most trivial problems. You know he's finicky, so all you take in is the wonder of discovering new places.
I will always love this book and Mr. Theroux for leading me out of small, Midwestern-town-USA. How else would I have found myself hitching a ride to Otoval market (ECUADOR) on top of a precarious truck carrying vegetables & chickens? Two Japanese sisters made the trip even more fun as we screamed & laughed all the way. A trip of a lifetime on a shoe string budget. Luckily I was young enough to ignore discomfort so that I could enjoy new vistas and people.
I will always keep my worn copy of this book. I give it 5 stars for inspiration, hilarity, and practical advice.
It was an unfair comparison because of Paul's history with Africa his insights there were based upon his Peace Corps experiences there.
The trip through the Americas seemed to be a struggle for Paul and didn't have the historical awareness and intimate connection with the areas covered so the depth that I was hoping for was lacking.