Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux

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In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Theroux recreates an epic journey he took thirty years ago, a giant loop by train (mostly) through Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia. In short, he traverses all of Asia top to bottom, and end to end. In the three decades since he first travelled this route, Asia has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed, China has risen, India booms, Burma slowly smothers, and Vietnam prospers despite the havoc unleashed upon it the last time Theroux passed through. He witnesses all this and more in a 25,000 mile journey, travelling as the locals do, by train, car, bus, and foot.

His odyssey takes him from Eastern Europe, still hungover from Communism, through tense but thriving Turkey, into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbour Azerbaijan revels in oil-driven capitalism. As he penetrates deeper into Asia’s heart, his encounters take on an otherworldly cast. The two chapters that follow show us Turkmenistan, a profoundly isolated society at the mercy of an almost comically egotistical dictator, and Uzbekistan, a ruthless authoritarian state. From there, he retraces his steps through India, Mayanmar, China, and Japan, providing his penetrating observations on the changes these countries have undergone.

Brilliant, caustic, and totally addictive, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is Theroux at his very best.



Title : Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0771085338
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 512 pages


Reviews


Chrissie rated it ★★★★☆

July 01, 2016

Travels from England to France to Germany to Austria to Hungary to Romania to Bulgaria to Turkey to Georgia to Turkmenistan to India to Sri Lanka to Burma to Thailand and China and Laos and Malaysia and Singapore and Cambodia and Vietnam and Japan and Russia via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. He re...


Shovelmonkey1 rated it ★★★★☆

January 09, 2014

Travel is forced upon some and for others it is a decadent pursuit (see recent Grazia article regarding Princess Beatrice, Kate Moss, Simon Cowell et al toasting themselves like smug pink seals on the beaches of St Barts). And there is the other category where travel is a way of life and a part o...


Bob rated it ★★★★★

January 21, 2009

Dang, there was an awesome quote toward the end of this massive travelogue, where the author addresses the reader directly, congratulating him or her on reading long past the point of comfort and common sense. Only the truly dedicated reader, writer, or traveler will love this book and if it hadn'...


Gerund rated it ★★★☆☆

December 20, 2008

IT is said that travel broadens the horizons; but what to make of pounding the same paths again? In his latest book, American author Paul Theroux retraces the journey through Asia which he took back in 1973 and described in The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), the bestseller which established him as...


Gerald rated it ★★☆☆☆

June 22, 2013

The reader who opens the first page of a travel book is about to embark upon a journey with the author; it helps if they are compatible people. Having travelled profitably with Theroux previously, I found in this book that I came progressively to dislike him more and more. The tipping point was Si...


Bucket rated it ★★★★★

July 22, 2012

I spent a wonderful week following Theroux along on his journey, repeatedly tracing my finger along the route on the map in the front of his book. I found the first 1/2 of the book to be the most fascinating, as Theroux describes how his life has changed in the last 30 years and really digs down...


Kiwiflora rated it ★★★★★

October 12, 2010

Twenty five years ago while living in a Pacific tropical paradise, I would visit the two very small English language book/stationery shops at least weekly to feed my reading appetite. Being very small shops there was a very limited range of books, so I had to expand my horizons somewhat and found...


Michael rated it ★★★☆☆

October 06, 2008

Paul Theroux gives a book talk at National Book Fair. One thing I learned from this was that I have been mispronouncing his name - the second syllable rhymes with "blue" not "blow." I am about 200 pages into this at the moment and it is mostly good. The original Railway Bazaar focused on the travel...


Grady rated it ★★☆☆☆

December 04, 2013

I checked out this audiobook version of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star from my local library to keep me company on a couple of long drives. Having made it just to Istanbul, I won't be finishing. I appreciate Theroux's honesty in the opening chapter about the miserable circumstance of his previous...


Chuck rated it ★★★★★

August 26, 2014

This is an excellent book, which I read on the recommendation of my daughter. Back in the early seventies Paul Theroux documented his trip by rail from London to Paris, Istanbul, much of the middle east, India, southeast Asia, Japan and then back across Asia on the transsiberian railroad. This bo...





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