19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I must have missed something,
This review is from: The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This book came highly recommended to me and I was expecting much more than I got.
First, the things I liked: Theroux is a very good storyteller and this book carried the narrative well. His descriptions of the trains he travelled on, the places he travelled through and the people he met were very realistic; especially during his descriptions of weather and landscape I felt as though I were present. He has a gift for observation and description, and this book was no exception.
However, I was very disappointed in the author's attitude. I found the tone and manner in which he describes people different to him as dismissive and condescending; in some cases his mannerisms are borderline racist. This work seems to carry a superior attitude and describes other human beings as might a scientist working with dried insects in a lab: dismissing entire populations with a mere paragraph does nothing for the work's reputation.
I also was quite disappointed by the disdain with which the author generally regards all sorts of sightseeing; he seems to regard it as beneath him and his dignity. I understand the importance of the journey and the mode of transport, but the utter dismissiveness and contempt in which he held anything outside of the actual train itself was quite a let-down.