The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean

The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean


By (author) Paul Theroux

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 544 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 30mm | 380g
  • Publication date: 27 June 1996
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140245332
  • ISBN 13: 9780140245332
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 88,357

Product description

At the gateway to the Mediterranean lie the two Pillars of Hercules: Gibraltar and Ceuta, in Morocco. Paul Theroux decided to travel from one to the other - but taking the long way round. His grand tour of the Mediterranean begins in Gibraltar and takes him through Spain, the French Riviera, Italy, Greece, Istanbul and beyond. He travels by any means necessary - including dilapidated taxi, smoke-filled bus, bicycle and even a cruise-liner. And he encounters bullfights, bazaars and British tourists, discovers pockets of humanity in war-torn Slovenia and Croatia, is astounded by the urban developments on the Costa del Sol and marvels at the ancient wonders of Delphi. Told with Theroux's inimitable wit and style, this lively and eventful tour evokes the essence of Mediterranean life.

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Author information

Paul Theroux was born in Medford Massachusetts, in 1941, and published his first novel, WALDO, in 1967. His subsequent novels include Picture Palace, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Fiction, The Mosquito Coast, and the hugely acclaimed, Kowloon Tong. His travel books include The Great Railway Bazaar and The Pillars of Hercules.

Editorial reviews

Although his humour and eloquence are often praised, Theroux has taken a few critical left jabs of late. Some critics say he is insensitive and inclined to various harsh judgements. C'mon, that's the joy of it. I write travel books. I know a dozen other folks who make their livings in the same way. If you got us all together over a few drinks, you'd hear a lot of discordant talk about various countries, and certain individuals living in them. Theroux says these things in public. He's honest about his perceptions and feelings: that's what makes him dangerous, and commendable and compulsively readable. Perpetually fleeing the horrors of the dreaded tourist, Theroux travels around the Mediterranean sampling life on the coast in low season, and - of course - never travelling by air. His musings are typically lofty and cynical, yet equally perceptive. He admits to admiring Evelyn Waugh's vicious judgments and agrees that 'satire is usually more purposeful than veneration'. The result is a unique but comprehensible survey of many cultures, climates, beautiful and not-so-beautiful places. (Kirkus UK)

Table of contents

The cable car to the Rock of Gibraltar; the Mare Nostrum express to Alicante; the MV Punta Europa to Majorca; the Virgen de Guadalupe express to Barcelona and beyond; Le Grand Sud to Nice; the ferry Ile de Baute to Corsica; the ferry Ichnusa to Sardinia; the ferry Torres to Sicily; the ferry - Villa to Calabria; the ferry Clodia from Chioggia; the ferry Liburnija to Zadar; the ferry Venezia to Albania; the MV Seabourne Spirit to Istanbul; the MV Akdeniz through the Levant the 7:20 express to Latakia; the ferry Sea Harmony to Greece; the ferry El-Loud III to Kerkennah; to Morocco on the ferry Boughaz.