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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Many readers have not liked this book because Theroux is obviously disappointed with Africa. Having lived in a third world country myself, I felt in so many places that I could relate to his disappointments, his realistic dry-eyed assessment of the people and the situations around him. Fact is, much of what he comes across is total crap, and much of it is due to the people who continue to live in a dire situation without helping themselves. While that is not a particularly PC or romantic view, Theroux tells it as he sees it; therefore when he praises something you feel that is equally as genuine.
This book worked for me — the romance of the travel makes me want to jump on a train and take off for an adventure; but the description of Africa makes me realise that is not where I would want to be heading.
I reached the end of the book also annoyed at his constant attacking of the "agents of virtue" only to find that in his last stretch he too became very much bothered with the constant nagging for change (and favours)....
To me it is obvious that he selected his experiences in a way to bring out the hardship he went through (which he chose to go through) and in places where he obviously stayed at a good hotel (as in Harare) he is silent on the matter, as if it wouldn't have been correct or might have set the wrong tone. I think in a way having been shot at in Northeastern Kenya provided him with a pedestal to elevate his quest as supernatural.
For Africa lovers definitely worth reading, for those that need to understand Africa there are books less biased.
it delivers interesting insights on the political and economical situation in eastern and southern africa from someone who has been there and also knows the people who are in the know. (apart from that he obviously has the enviable knack of making contact with people easily).
certainly intriguing are his observations on the 'holier-than-thou' AID brigade - should help to give your money more efficiently if your are charitably inclined.
it also has its lyrical and harrowing moments - the ones that tell you that he really did it the hard way.
unfortunately the big 60 he reaches on route in johannesburg somehow seems to adversely affect mr theroux. his annoying ramblings on his sexagenarian existence (hey you have just crossed the dark star not shying away from any inconvenience so you are not that old, OK ?) leave a foul taste. as does the fact that once in south africa he seems to turn into a sexagenarian wealthy american tourist (sic). mala mala, trans-karoo first class, cape winelands, kyilitsha, blue train, the 'expensive watch stolen from the hotel strongroom' ?
had he only stopped in beitbridge.
His arrogant and superficial take on 'Africa' frustrated me having worked and travelled there so long. I particularly laughed at his rude description of ' tourists' yet travelled on the Blue Train and stayed at the Speke hotel. Well Paul you'll get a accurate impression of 'Africa' that way. He even described an encounter with someone I know and I would not describe them as a balanced informant on local issues.
This book is interesting because of what it is: Theroux's journey is undeniably ambitious in scope and Dark Star Safari stands as a testament to that. It was a huge undertaking, accessing such a wide cross section of people from so many places, and the fact that he was able to write the book at all is impressive. It's also an area that is entirely new to me and I learnt a great deal from the book. I had no idea, for example, that there were so many Indians who migrated to various African countries to set up businesses and new lives, and Dark Star Safari is a gold mine of information such as this for the ignorant reader such as myself. He also presents a perspective on foreign aid (that it is often doing more harm than good) which I hadn't really considered before, probably because Africa isn't something that I read about terrible often, and certainly gave me pause for thought.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read again for the third time. Helped open my mind to the problems which 'aid' can bring. Seems a never ending story in Africa......Published 8 months ago by Ket
I had to stop reading this. He reads like a dirty old perv. Seriously. Gross.Published 11 months ago by Lab Girl
I am a fan of Paul Theroux and I am enjoying this as much as previous titles. I bought it in preparation for my trip across Africa next Summer and it is full of information,... Read morePublished 18 months ago by ann fyfe
The kind of book that makes you wish you could just pack up and go. I thought it gave some good insights into Africa especially parts that are perhaps lesser known and certainly... Read morePublished 18 months ago by nicnac
This is a tricky one to rate. Dark Star Safari’s big plus is its honesty. You get Paul Theroux’s usual super high level of literary crafting combined with what is probably a very... Read morePublished on 16 April 2015 by Fiona