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The Great Railway Bazaar by [Theroux, Paul]
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The Great Railway Bazaar Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Review

"[M]y fingertips were singed as I read each erotic scene.... This tale is one hot read."
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Product Description

First published more than thirty years ago, Paul Theroux's strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here Theroux recounts his early adventures on an unusual grand continental tour. Asia's fabled trains -- the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express -- are the stars of a journey that takes him on a loop eastbound from London's Victoria Station to Tokyo Central, then back from Japan on the Trans-Siberian. Brimming with Theroux's signature humor and wry observations, this engrossing chronicle is essential reading for both the ardent adventurer and the armchair traveler.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2515 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 1 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005G03ETI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,793 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 30 2009
Format: Paperback
I recently read Ghost Train to the Eastern Star (which re-creates the trip described in The Great Railway Bazaar and comments on the earlier trip). Although I thought that the writing is better and more interesting in The Great Railway Bazaar, this book lacks the perspective on writing that makes Ghost Train to the Eastern Star special for authors.

For many years, I traveled across the United States by slow trains (on a free pass) over 72 hours. I was always glad to have the trip end . . . except for that one time I met an interesting young woman (but that's a story for another time).

I would find the kind of trip that Mr. Theroux describes to be unendurable. It's not surprising that he did, too. And that spoils much of the potential fun of this book.

He is fixated on giving you more than you ever wanted to know about bad meals, poor ticket-buying experiences, missing visas, getting drunk, poor sanitary facilities, and unpleasant companions. Mr. Theroux takes himself very seriously. That's too bad. A little humor about his situation would have helped.

From Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, it's not hard to know why: His marriage was falling apart and he couldn't really afford the trip. All I can say is that his problems show.

Imagine instead that a poor person had been granted this same opportunity: It would have been like a magic carpet ride. Unfortunately, you take yourself with you when you are a travel writer.

There are some good moments in the book. Occasionally, Mr. Theroux has enough knowledge about a country and its people to use his journey to comment in a helpful way about the culture.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 30 2009
Format: Paperback
I recently read Ghost Train to the Eastern Star (which re-creates the trip described in The Great Railway Bazaar and comments on the earlier trip). Although I thought that the writing is better and more interesting in The Great Railway Bazaar, this book lacks the perspective on writing that makes Ghost Train to the Eastern Star special for authors.

For many years, I traveled across the United States by slow trains (on a free pass) over 72 hours. I was always glad to have the trip end . . . except for that one time I met an interesting young woman (but that's a story for another time).

I would find the kind of trip that Mr. Theroux describes to be unendurable. It's not surprising that he did, too. And that spoils much of the potential fun of this book.

He is fixated on giving you more than you ever wanted to know about bad meals, poor ticket-buying experiences, missing visas, getting drunk, poor sanitary facilities, and unpleasant companions. Mr. Theroux takes himself very seriously. That's too bad. A little humor about his situation would have helped.

From Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, it's not hard to know why: His marriage was falling apart and he couldn't really afford the trip. All I can say is that his problems show.

Imagine instead that a poor person had been granted this same opportunity: It would have been like a magic carpet ride. Unfortunately, you take yourself with you when you are a travel writer.

There are some good moments in the book. Occasionally, Mr. Theroux has enough knowledge about a country and its people to use his journey to comment in a helpful way about the culture.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
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Format: Paperback
This is a journal of a trip covering the major rail routes available in the 1970s across Europe and Asia. Theroux, an American, sets off from London on a tour where the journey itself was the goal. He wanted to sit back, observe, and absorb the atmosphere of the trains. In the book, he details his experiences on the trains, tells us about his fellow passengers, and describes what he was seeing out the windows while the trains wound across the tracks from Paris to Italy, Bulgaria to Turkey, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, and the Soviet Union. Occasionally, he stopped for a night or two in a hotel along the way, and he also tells us of his adventures at these stops.
It's been years since I read a book by Paul Theroux. In the past, I found his attitude a bit off-putting. There's something about deciding to write a travel book, then taking a trip for the specific purpose of having something to write about that makes the whole genre somewhat useless. But now that I have traveled a bit more myself and have visited many of the countries that Theroux describes here, I can appreciate the accuracy of his descriptions much more. In traveling through a country in a few days by train, no one would be able to make enough observations to make worthwhile analyses of the culture or the society of a country, but that's not Theroux's goal in this book. Instead, it is the journey itself that he is describing- -the focus is on the trains, and the particular subculture of train travel. Theroux provides us with images of the trains themselves and the people one meets on them as he describes his experiences of months spent living on the trains.
Theroux's best descriptions are towards the beginning of the journey.
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