Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

Book - 2008
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Thirty years after the epic journey chronicled in his classic work The Great Railway Bazaar, the world's most acclaimed travel writer re-creates his 25,000-mile journey through eastern Europe, central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia.

Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by train through Asia. In the three 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.
Theroux's 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 is firsthand witness to it all, traveling 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, inform, and entertain.

PAUL THEROUX was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1941 and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. His fiction includes The Mosquito Coast, My Secret History, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, Blinding Light, and most recently, The Elephanta Suite. His highly acclaimed travel books include Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, Fresh Air Fiend, and Dark Star Safari. He has been the guest editor of The Best American Travel Writing and is a frequent contributor to various magazines, including The New Yorker. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin , 2008
ISBN: 9780618418879
Branch Call Number: 915 Theroux 2008
Characteristics: 496 p. : map ; 24 cm


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Jun 24, 2019

I LOVED this book. It reads like you're there with him on this journey. I highly recommend it.

Jun 15, 2019

Every good travel book is a romance, an evocation of not just a journey or a physical locale, but the narrative, the legend that surrounds it. Above all, it has to be about the people who have inhabited the places and made them into something unique. A great travel book may cover a single community, a valley, an ethnic region or a continent; it matters not how much territory is covered. What matter is whether it's insightful or pedestrian; whimsical or mundane; probes below the surface or remains superficial; dances lightly or plods along. And along the way, it's a journey of self-discovery that the traveler shares with us.
All of that is a tall order, not to be taken lightly. Few writers are able to pull it off. Eric Newby, Jan Morris, Wilfred Thesiger and a few others I've read have succeeded magnificently. Theroux, in what was for him a re-visitation of a journey taken in his youth, strives valiantly to recapture the romance. Perhaps it was an impossible task. He comes across as jaded.

A nice follow up to Great Railway Bazaar, 33 years later. Having been to many of these places, and being one who loves train travel, the wonderfully descriptive travel writing of Theroux never disappoints me. It was quite interesting to note the changes, or lack thereof, to some of those destinations since he first traveled the route in the 70's.

ChristchurchLib Aug 09, 2016

In the 1970s, author Paul Theroux took a railroad trip through Eastern Europe, Asia, India, China, Japan, and Siberia, and wrote about his adventures in The Great Railway Bazaar, a book that became a modern travel classic. More than 30 years later, he revisited the past and recreated his journey, which revealed the dramatic changes that had occurred since the writing of his original travelogue. Publishers Weekly says, "no matter where his journey takes him, Theroux always sends back dazzling postcards." Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a must-read for fans of Theroux, travel, and trains.

d2013 May 03, 2014

It's like traveling free and without the jet lag. Very interesting read!

Apr 25, 2011

Fantastic account of Theroux's trip throughout eastern europe, central asia, south asia, SE asia, Japan, Russia....

A detailed, honest, and ruminative journey, filled with observations only an experienced and passionate traveller like Theroux could express in words. Very enlightening for those areas not yet visisted - truly a learning experience for off-the-beaten track places such as Georgia and Turkmenistan. I highly recommend, especially for armchair travellers such as myself.


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