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The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas Hardcover – 1 Sep 1979

3.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Sep 1979
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T); First Edition edition (1 Sept. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395277884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395277881
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.7 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 906,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Paul Theroux has written many works of fiction and travel writing, including the modern classics The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, My Secret History and The Mosquito Coast. Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands.

Paul Theroux has written many works of fiction and travel writing, including the modern classics The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, My Secret History and The Mosquito Coast. Paul Theroux divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian islands. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, now I've read this almost classic account in it's way, and I agree with the critics who felt that it was a disappointment in that it was sorely limited with describing with a fair amount of chagrin and detachment on the part of the author the rail journey from Massachusetts to Patagonia without any time given to feel each place in which he stepped off the train to break the journey. And the trains themselves were an ordeal to say the least. The fellow travellers mute, or annoying and filthy in their habits made one crawl alive with itching or longing to stretch one's legs in a real bed- except that the beds were crawling alive with bugs in every "hotel" he dared to put up in. The journey took one through every inconvenience immaginable from whore towns, to sordid carriages, and facilities (that's a good word!) to extreme temperatures of excessive heat to cold at dire altitudes in impossible situations in the Andes, and at moments however Paul Theroux describes with a stroke of reportage genius the incongruous characters he meets ,just as in life- sitting on a bench in a square, a women who almost drags him down into her quest for a poor fisherman in Veracruz to save him from death, saved only by his need to catch the next train to Guatemala.The only comfortable stretch was when he changed trains for Argentina until the writer Borges tells him the trains are regularly bombed (we are in the 1970's!).
I wouldn't recommend this book but just the same it was a ride through these countries albeit really about the author's attitudes to life and inabilty to enjoy anything of which he experienced.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not the first Paul Theroux book I've read, but he's definitely an acquired taste. His descriptions are not particularly interesting, the conversations he records are usually pretty banal, and his attitudes to those he meets are often unattractively patronising. And yet I still find his work is strangely readable - just why, I still can't quite work out!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Incarcerated on a hospital bed for 8 weeks my kindle was my bed companion , I recall reading the Consuls Wife by Paul Theroux many years ago, my personal vacations have been mountain walking in Britain and across Europe. In bed my thoughts centred on the world outside and my way of escape was to read at long last The Pantagonian Express. I was with him all the way, in hot smelly trains, and just as Paul from time to time had to kick his heals, from my bed I sympathized with him, I too was often hot and sweaty but for other reasons. Always with Paul his tales, like Chatwin's are bought to life with the people he meets.To me that is the essence of travelling. My experience in my enforced incarceration is memorable for all the people I met, from the cardiologist who sat at my bedside the night before my operation where we discussed Edgar Alan Poe ( I had been to see the movie Poe's Raven where 4 mins into the movie Poe was dissecting a heart, thankfully I am not squeamish) the doctors,nurses and support staff from all nationalities all made my stay worthwhile, just as the people Paul met. I f these fellow passengers had been omitted from his tales, it would have been just another (boring)train journey.
My dreams (after my hallucinations faded)were achieved in my vicarious journey in the Pantagonian Express.
Thank you PT
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the best travel books on South America I have every read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great
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Great present
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