Riding the Rails with Paul Theroux: The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Riding the Rails with Paul Theroux: The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

By:  Paul Theroux

Riding the Rails with Paul Theroux 

 

Three quintessential works from the legendary Paul Theroux are collected here for the first time. 

Let the master take you by train through Asia in 1975’s The Great Railway Bazaar, then cross the Americas in 1979’s The Old Patagonian Express, and round out your journey through Eastern Europe in 2008’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

 

 

The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia 

 

The Great Railway Bazaar, Theroux’s strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here he recounts his early adventures on an unusual grand tour. Asia’s fabled trains—the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express—are the stars of a journey that takes him on a loop eastbound from London’s Victoria Station to Tokyo Central, then back from Japan on the Trans-Siberian Express. Brimming with Theroux’s signature humor and wry observations, this engrossing chronicle is essential reading for both the ardent adventurer and the armchair traveler. 

 

 

The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas 

 

Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux winds up on the poky Old Patagonian Express steam engine (“a kind of demented samovar on wheels”), which comes to a halt among cracked hills and thorn bushes in the southern reaches of Argentina.  

 

But with Theroux the souls he meets along the way matter most, like the monologuing Mr. Thornberry in Costa Rica, the bogus priest of Cali, and the blind Jorge Luis Borges, who delights in having Theroux read Robert Louis Stevenson to him.  

 

 

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar 

 

Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by train through Asia. In the decades since, the world he recorded in that book has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India booms while Burma smothers under dictatorship; Vietnam flourishes in the aftermath of the havoc America was unleashing on it the last time Theroux passed through. And no one is better able to capture the texture, sights, smells, and sounds of that changing landscape than Theroux. 

 

His odyssey takes him from eastern Europe, still hung-over from communism, through tense but thriving Turkey into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbor Azerbaijan revels in oil-fueled capitalism. Theroux travels as the locals do—by stifling train, rattletrap bus, illicit taxi, and mud-caked foot—encountering adventures only he could have: from the literary (sparring with the incisive Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk) to the dissolute (surviving a week-long bender on the Trans-Siberian Railroad). And wherever he goes, his omnivorous curiosity and unerring eye for detail never fail to inspire, enlighten, and entertain. 

 

Available Resources

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358003977

  • ISBN-10: 0358003970

  • Pages: 1296

  • Price: $24.99

  • Publication Date: 06/19/2018

  • Carton Quantity: 1

Paul Theroux
Author

Paul Theroux

PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari. He lives in Hawaii and Cape Cod.
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  • reviews

    Praise for The Great Railway Bazaar 

     

    “Funny, sardonic, wonderfully sensuous and evocative . . . Consistently entertaining.” —New York Times Book Review 

     

    “It’s as if Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad decided to rewrite Baedeker’s guides to Asia . . . [A] great read.” —Newsweek 

     

    “Wonderful . . . Full of zest and adventure.” —Washington Post 

     

    “A travel book of the first magnitude.” —Business Week 

     

    “In the fine old tradition of travel for fun and adventure . . . Compulsive reading.” —Graham Greene 

     

    “More than a rich and original entertainment. His people, places, and asides will stay a long time jostling in the mind of the reader.” —V. S. Pritchett 

     

     

    Praise for The Old Patagonian Express 

     

    “Surely . . . the best book of train travel ever written.” —Jan Morris 

     

    “Like good conversation, a good travel book consists of two kinds of material: narrative and comment. Theroux’s comments come in the form of little essays. Interesting as these excursions are, his narrative is better—his rendering of a combined soccer game and riot in San Salvador is superb—and his dialogue best of all.” —Paul Fussell, New York Times Book Review 

     

     

    Praise for Ghost Train to the Eastern Star 

     

    “Readers will find his usual wonderfully evocative landscapes and piquant character sketches. No matter where his journey takes him, Theroux always sends back dazzling post cards.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review 

     

    “Theroux wanders to places that scarcely cross other travel writers’ minds, among them Vientiane (‘a sleepy town on the banks of the muddy river, famous for its cheap beer’) and Phnom Penh (‘scruffy, rather beaten-up . . . like a scarred human face in which its violent past was evident’). He also keeps up a running argument with the books he reads along the way, to say nothing of his contemporaries (Chatwin never traveled alone, he harrumphs, and neither does his bête noire Naipaul).” —Kirkus Reviews 

     

    “Brilliant. No one writes with Theroux’s head-on intensity and raptness, and his descriptions made me want to jump on the next plane to Istanbul (and also, of course, to many of the other places he evokes). I particularly loved the spectral motif, the ghosts and shadows and underground presences that flit through the narrative, giving the whole a half-seen and haunting dimension that no book of travels I’ve ever read conjures up.” —Pico Iyer 

     

    “As thoughtful and observant as ever. His trip finds Theroux reflecting not only on changes to the landscape but also to himself. A wonderful book infused with the insights of maturity. It’s a reminder that in this age of increasingly homogenous urban centers and easy air travel, those who really want to discern national differences should stay on the ground.” —Booklist, starred review 

     

     

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358003977

  • ISBN-10: 0358003970

  • Pages: 1296

  • Price: $24.99

  • Publication Date: 06/19/2018

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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