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3.9 out of 5 stars28
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 3 January 2008
I began reading this book after having thoroughly enjoyed "Dark Star" by the author. "Dark Star" swept me into its narrative, educated me and gave me a real sense of Africa's contradictory nature. It was a wonderful book! However, Theroux came across as an arrogant, ignorant old man who's views of the landscape outside his train car and his opinions of the people inside had no more depth than the narrow route of the train tracks upon which he travelled. If I had wanted a narration of how grumpy and irritable everyone and everything made him I could have listened to my father-in-law! I commend Theroux for learning Spanish but he learned little else and had nothing much to share with his readers. I was looking for some insight into the people and countries but all I got was complaining. Theroux came across as a real old crank in this book. I was very disappointed.
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on 11 September 2015
A journey on various trains in different stages of squalor, a commentary on the hopelessness of Latin America, an ode to the misery of poverty.
Theroux seems to have been going through a depressive stage on this journey, there is nothing but despair to write about, each new place is greeted with the same amount of snide remarks and barbed observations, each character met is dissected and their weaknesses surgically analysed, this book is a joyless adventure that only promises to make one glad to live in the western world.
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on 20 April 2014
This book took a little while to get into, because at first I wasn't too sure about theroux's disparaging ways with people he encountered. However, as his journey progressed I appreciated his honesty about his experiences as a lone traveller. I think I may have enjoyed the book more if it were a more recent account of his travels, ie more relevant to the 21st century but of course that's not a criticism of this author and his bold journey! This is the first book I've read by Paul Theroux, I think I'll try his others as well.
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on 5 January 2015
This did get a bit boring-the author was feeling the same way-bored and fed up of his long train journey. Whay not just take to the air more often & cut out the boring stuff. I understand the whole point is about rail travel, but there is no point in taking rickety trains if you can't get a decent night's sleep, food or clean water. I've bought/read most of the Theroux books, but this one was the least liked by me.
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on 21 September 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this whilst I was travelling through South America (in the opposite direction to Theroux). It even motivated me to search out those of the trains that he travelled on, that were still in service. I found his uncompromising, often critical view of others and himself, a refreshing change from the political correctness that we are accustomised to today. I thought his observations acute and I'm looking forward to reading more of his work.
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on 17 January 1999
This book is more about the way Theroux travels rather than the day to day mechanics of travelling. He displays a sharp insight into everything he sees and everyone he meets, and we miss nothing on the way with his vivid descriptive prose and portrayal. Some countries he barely dallies in, but by the end of the book you feel you've been there with him. The feel of going somewhere, of travelling, is precisely conveyed. Wonderful.
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on 15 August 2010
Good, clean low-priced paperback, arrived in well-padded bag, even before Amazon notified me of its despatch, before even minimum arrival time. Excellent service! Sorry I'm only half-way through it as yet - it's quite heavy going and I have little time, but it's a fascinating tale!
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on 13 March 2015
I did this, then I did that. Oh, then I went there and saw that thing.... Too repetitive and very boring. Not as good as his other works.
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on 13 February 2016
Just started reading it, looks good. Think I'm going to enjoy the journey.
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on 1 January 2015
One of the best travel books on South America I have every read.
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