'Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,' writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey though the continent he knows and loves best. Having travelled down the right-hand side of Africa in Dark Star Safari, he sets out this time from Cape Town, heading northwards in a new direction, up the left-hand side, through South Africa and Namibia, to Botswana, then on into Angola, heading for the Congo, in search of the end of the line. Journeying alone through the greenest continent in what he feels will be his last African journey, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the intineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savannah, Theroux crosses 'the Red Line' into a different Africa: 'the improvised, slapped-together Africa of tumbled fences and cooking fires, of mud and thatch', of heat and poverty, and of roadblocks, mobs and anarchy.
Counterpointing the brutalized landscapes of Angola, where no wild animals survive and the population is overwhelmingly destitute, with the joyful endurance and resourcefulness of the San People of northeastern Namibia, the author finds an Africa altered for the worse but still capable, in its peoples and its landscapes, of inspiring feelings of happiness and even hope. But finally, after 2500 arduous miles through the bush, Theroux comes to the end of his journey in more ways than one, a decision he chronicles with typical irascible honesty in a chapter called 'What Am I Doing Here?' A final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers, The Last Train to Zona Verde is Paul Theroux's ultimate safari.show more