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Ghost Train to the Eastern Star | [Paul Theroux]

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux retraces the steps he took thirty years ago in his classic The Great Railway Bazaar. From the Eurostar in London, he once again sets out on a journey to the East, travelling overland through Eastern Europe, India and Asia. Infused with the changes that have shaped the exterior landscape and enriched with developments to his own perceptions and psychology, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is an absorbing and beautifully written follow-up to The Great Railway Bazaar.
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Publisher's Summary

In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux retraces the steps he took thirty years ago in his classic The Great Railway Bazaar. From the Eurostar in London, he once again sets out on a journey to the East, travelling overland through Eastern Europe, India and Asia. Infused with the changes that have shaped the exterior landscape and enriched with developments to his own perceptions and psychology, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is an absorbing and beautifully written follow-up to The Great Railway Bazaar.

©2008 Paul Theroux; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (93 )
5 star
 (39)
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4.0 (42 )
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Story
4.1 (44 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Roger oakland, CA, United States 07-22-09
    Roger oakland, CA, United States 07-22-09 Member Since 2005

    Lawyer/law professor , I'm interested in science, history, literature. I can tolerate a bad movie, but not bad writing. I read to learn .

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    "ghost train to the eastern star"

    I've always considered Paul Theroux my travel mentor since I hitch hiked half the world at 18. For anyone who has dreamed of revisiting the world they visited more then thirty years ago Ghost Train is a delight. I've read all of Theroux's fiction and non-fiction and this is one of his best non-fiction books. I think Theroux has mellowed a bit. He is not the curmudgeon of Dark Star Safari or other recent non-fiction. I love his observations of people he meets, especially his train companions. The portrait of his Burmese guide and his generosity towards him will always be indelibly etched in my mind. I fantasize that in some far away place I might meet him on a train.(although one should be wary of what he might say about the encounter later in a book) I also appreciated the sense that as one gets older travel is more challenging, but with life's experiences we view the world's people with more compassion and the governments more cynically.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Auckland, New Zealand 02-07-11
    Lisa Auckland, New Zealand 02-07-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Engrossing but kind of depressing"

    Good value in the vast distance and many cultures and nations covered, and the many hours of densely packed details he puts in, so if you want to be taken on a very long and detailed journey from Europe to Japan, it's the book to get. By the end though, the overall feeling was a bit depressive and jaded and the impression of nearly all the societies he visited was on the negative side - most of the population he encountered seemed to be either poor, desperate, drunk, grubby, corrupt or willing to do anything for a buck, which of course may well be true but was a fairly humourless theme. And his focus on talking to and about prostitutes wherever he went was starting to tip the balance from general interest to slightly uncomfortable obsession towards the end. Overall, quite engrossing and informative but not very optimistic about that part of the world - which is a pretty big chunk of the world - and I'd have to say ultimately no "feel good" in fact a bit of a "feel bad" experience.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maida smith Sandy Ut 02-05-13
    maida smith Sandy Ut 02-05-13 Member Since 2015

    Maida

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    "Great audio adventure"
    Where does Ghost Train to the Eastern Star rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Pretty High. I have a hard time reviewing the books I do not love.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The main character had so much understanding of people.


    Have you listened to any of John McDonough’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes,,,He is my favorite narrator. I have listened to most of what he has done and I loved Grand and Glorious Physician. The other story of Luke in the Bible. McDonaugh just is the characters to me. I also loved his Mitford Series and could not listen to the prequeal because it was not him.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I think his time in Viet Nam was amazing.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    victoria 08-14-11
    victoria 08-14-11
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    "Not that great"

    Largely a fan of Mr. Theroux and his style of writing but after 20 hours I had to stop. The book began well and even advanced well but became long and laborious - toward the end seemingly sex trade orientated. Even my husband who listens haphazardly as he's in and out of the room said "wow, that book tanked."

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noam D.N. Menashe, Israel 04-11-14
    Noam D.N. Menashe, Israel 04-11-14
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    "A great follow up to the first"

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Great Railway Bazaar, and so I decided to take this one on too.
    I was afraid that this wouldn't live up, but it really did.
    Paul's writing is excellent, and he's still an avid traveler; the fact that he had to change course from the original route made it all the more interesting as he was able to reach new places that he hadn't before.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Mahon 09-02-13
    S. Mahon 09-02-13
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    "World from a train/ touching vignettes of humanity"
    If you could sum up Ghost Train to the Eastern Star in three words, what would they be?

    people more alike v, different


    What other book might you compare Ghost Train to the Eastern Star to and why?

    other theroux non fiction, or paul friedman hot flat and crowded


    Which scene was your favorite?

    two scenes: when theroux and his friend gave money to impoverished drivers to realize their dreams. Many professional reviewers of this book have called theroux self centered, yet he is charitable to unlikely unknown people in unlikely unknown places


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    no, these types of books are to be consumed slowly


    Any additional comments?

    small details reveal the state of the humanity

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kalvin 01-11-13
    Kalvin 01-11-13
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    "Ghost Train would bored even the dead!"
    What disappointed you about Ghost Train to the Eastern Star?

    I am trying to find words to describe how bad this book was. I am at a loss. The book started off nicely, but once Mr. Theroux left Europe, it became a trudging misery. All it was a long drawn out pompous pondefication about child prostitution, bashing of christian missionaries, bashing of President Bush, bashing of other authors. It was murderous to get through this book.

    For all his pompous "horror" of child prostitution, he certainly was able to find it, over and over and over.

    The last part is only 7 hours long but it took literally 3 months to get through. Honestly, if I could have gnawed off my own ears, I would have. If this book was any more boring it would be required reading in 8th grade!


    Has Ghost Train to the Eastern Star turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, not the genre. But you would never get me to read Paul Theroux again. Not for $1,000,000.00, not if you had a gun to my head, not if you were waterboarding me with lava!


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    No, the narration dragged on right along with the story.


    What character would you cut from Ghost Train to the Eastern Star?

    Paul Theroux.


    Any additional comments?

    Stay away... stay far far away!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Carolyn
    Flogny La ChapelleFrance
    5/26/09
    Overall
    "Transports one to the East magnificently"

    Brilliant, vivid, nostalgic, alarming - Paul Theroux's re-run of the journey he took 30 years before from London to the East is simply magnificent. He recounts his impressions and adventures with honesty and humour.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Dr John
    UK
    5/16/09
    Overall
    "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star"

    A wonderful travelog, especially to a train lover. Who needs pictures when words are used so comprehensively. Only the smell is missing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Nigel
    Reading, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Thoroughly engaging"

    If you've read and enjoyed Theroux's 'The Great Railway Bazaar', then you'll love his fascinating and insightful retracing of that journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • BillyBeatnik
    7/19/12
    Overall
    "Not what I expected"

    I was looking forward to this book, thinking it may be similar to a Bill Bryson type travel adventure. It definitely was not. This book has virtually no humour and is very hard to listen to as the narrator's voice is incredibly dull.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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