Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" by Paul Theroux

This book is a non-fiction, travelogue about acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux retracing the steps of his first successful travelogue “The Great Railway Bazaar”. While that book was light, eccentric, and filled with joie de vivre, this book is an entirely different animal. He views the places he visits with a kind of venom, and cynicism that comes with 40 years of travel experience. While he has often caught flak for the sardonic, self-deprecating tone of is later works, I actually prefer these. His prose boils and bubbles with sarcasm throughout, and he is the most entertaining when he’s petulantly complaining about something. The book lags when he visits places like India, which he seems more cynically bemused by, and Turkey, a place he doesn’t seem to cast his usual jaundiced eye on. But these are minor quibbles. As a whole, this book is highly entertaining, and I was enthralled by the state of modern Europe and Asia told through the uniquely cantankerous eyes of Paul Theroux.
Grade: A-

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