Paul Theroux returns to the transcontinental expedition that made "Great Railway Bazaar" a classic of travel literature and realizes in rich, anecdotal detail how much the world has changed.
Half a lifetime ago, Paul Theroux virtually invented the modern travel narrative by recounting his grand tour by train through Asia. In the three decades since, the world he recorded in that book has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India booms while Burma smothers under dictatorship; Vietnam flourishes in the aftermath of the havoc America was unleashing on it the last time he passed through. In "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star," Theroux re-creates that earlier journey. His odyssey takes him from eastern Europe, still hung-over from communism, through tense but thriving Turkey into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbor Azerbaijan revels in oil-fueled capitalism. Theroux is firsthand witness to it all, encountering adventures only he could have: from the literary (sparring with the incisive Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk) to the dissolute (surviving a week-long bender on the Trans-Siberian Railroad). Wherever he goes, his omnivorous curiosity and unerring eye for detail never fail to inspire, enlighten, inform, and entertain.
"Spectacular . . . as much an emotional journey as a physical pilgrimage." — Christian Science Monitor"With the world on a fast train to the godforsaken, Theroux counsels you to take the local — with its longueurs, aromas, riddles, and many stations." — San Francisco Chronicle "Engaging and brilliant . . . can only add to his stature as one of our most original and agile writers." — Minneapolis Star Tribune "An elegy for an epic writing career and a diminishing world . . . few writers can so precisely capture the strange qualities of travel." — Outside "In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star Theroux retraces the path he took 33 years earlier, assessing with his sharp eye and astringent pen what has changed and what has remained the same in the people and cultures he first encountered in his early 30s." — Chicago Tribune "Theroux takes us not to mere places, but to regions in the mind that we likely haven’t known before." — Rocky Mountain News "Theroux puts the brakes on his relentless momentum long enough to deliver some of his strongest writing and rewarding commentary on his beloved India . . . His prose explodes with texture, depth, and wisdom." — Boston Globe "Traveling 28,000 miles with Paul Theroux is a lot like traveling the world with a long-lost friend." — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Brilliant. No one writes with Theroux's head-on intensity and raptness, and his descriptions made me want to jump on the next plane to Istanbul (and also, of course, to many of the other places he evokes). I particularly loved the spectral motif, the ghosts and shadows and underground presences that flit through the narrative, giving the whole a half-seen and haunting dimension that no book of travels I've ever read conjures up." — Pico Iyer "Much of his writing reflects affection for the people in whose midst he is apt to find himself, and a spirit of inquiry that is part anthropological and part autobiographical." — Wall Street Journal "Theroux is the ultimate globetrotter, finding something of value wherever he roams." — The Atlantic "Brightly rendered and endlessly informative, it serves up one sharp, insightful anecdote or historical tidbit after another . . . Theroux's fresh phrasing is a treat whether he's evoking the desolation of rural Turkmenistan, the heat of Jodhpur or a massage in Bangkok." — Seattle Times "Mature and thoroughly engrossing . . . We are the author’s companions rather than the audience for his tales." — Los Angeles Times "Theroux fans are likely to enjoy every episode of this latest adventure." — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Here's a toast to a career-capping classic from a travel writing mentor and master." —National Geographic Traveler