Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar
On Sale: August 18, 2008
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Thirty years after the epic journey chronicled in his
classic work The Great Railway Bazaar, the world's most
acclaimed travel writer re-creates his 25,000-mile journey
through eastern Europe, central Asia, the Indian
subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia.
Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the
modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by
train through Asia. In the three decades since, the world
he recorded in that book has undergone phenomenal change.
The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India
booms while Burma smothers under dictatorship; Vietnam
flourishes in the aftermath of the havoc America was
unleashing on it the last time Theroux passed through. And
no one is better able to capture the texture, sights,
smells, and sounds of that changing landscape than Theroux.
Theroux's odyssey takes him from eastern Europe, still hung-
over from communism, through tense but thriving Turkey into
the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism
while its neighbor Azerbaijan revels in oil-fueled
capitalism. Theroux is firsthand witness to it all,
traveling as the locals doâ€”by stifling train, rattletrap
bus, illicit taxi, and mud-caked footâ€”encountering
adventures only he could have: from the literary (sparring
with the incisive Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk) to the
dissolute (surviving a week-long bender on the Trans-
Siberian Railroad). And wherever he goes, his omnivorous
curiosity and unerring eye for detail never fail to
inspire, enlighten, inform, and entertain.
PAUL THEROUX was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1941
and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. His fiction
includes The Mosquito Coast, My Secret History, My Other
Life, Kowloon Tong, Blinding Light, and most recently, The
Elephanta Suite. His highly acclaimed travel books include
Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old
Patagonian Express, Fresh Air Fiend, and Dark Star Safari.
He has been the guest editor of The Best American Travel
Writing and is a frequent contributor to various magazines,
including The New Yorker. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape
Talk of the Nation - August 18, 2008
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