Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

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

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Description

Starting off on the Eurostar from London, Paul Theroux once again sets out on a railway journey through the East, travelling overland through Eastern Europe, and eventually reaching India and Asia. Infused with the changes that have shaped the exterior landscape and enriched with developments to his own perceptions and psychology, "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" is an absorbing and beautifully written follow-up to "The Great Railway Bazaar". Full of life and impeccably evoked, "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" is Paul Theroux at his very best.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 496 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 48mm | 861.82g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • Hamish Hamilton Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 1 map
  • 0241142539
  • 9780241142530
  • 633,276

Review quote

The most gifted, most prodigal writer of his generation Jonathan Raban Theroux's prose leaps to life like a mosaic splashed with water Spectatorshow more

Author information

Paul Theroux's highly acclaimed books include Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, Fresh Air Fiend and The Elephanta Suite. The Mosquito Coast and Dr Slaughter have both been made into successful films. Paul Theroux is also a frequent contributor to magazines, and divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.show more

Review Text

Travel writer and novelist Theroux (The Elephanta Suite, 2007, etc.) offers an elegiac retracing of roads and railroads taken across the vastness of Eurasia.Rejoining his 1975 travelogue The Great Railway Bazaar, Theroux takes to the chemin de fer from London to Kyoto four decades older and, it seems, more inclined to the better things in life ("a woman in a blue uniform brought me a bottle of Les Jamelles Chardonnay Vin de Pays d'Oc 2004 . . . and then the lunch tray: terrine de poulet et de broccolis, chutney de tomates, the entree a fillet of lightly peppered salmon, with coup de chocolat for dessert"). He is a touch rueful and more than a touch reflective, viewing his metaphorically mirrored self in the sleeping-compartment window and thinking of marriages, friendships and youth lost. The meditative aspect soon yields to Theroux's testy, Kiplingesque impatience with the cultures east of Folkestone, to his allergy to the "Asiatic ambiguity" that lies before him. He is willing to debate such things with the people he meets, unafraid to argue the relative merits of Western civilization vis-a-vis Islam, to name just one topic of conversation. As with his previous books, Theroux is unafraid of roughing it in the interest of getting a story, and some of his new memoir's best moments find him stealing across snowy, remote borders, "like a specter, in a strange country at nightfall," only to have his strength and compass restored by a delicious bottle of wine or morsel. Theroux wanders to places that scarcely cross most 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 bete noire Naipaul).Fans of Theroux will say that he hasn't lost his touch; the more critical will say that he breaks no new ground. Either way, worth looking into. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

5,007 ratings
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2 4% (214)
1 2% (81)
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