©2008 Paul Theroux; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
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.
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.
I am a life long student. I love to study and learn and I enjoy factual books but also well research novels. At age 75 I have read lots.
Pretty High. I have a hard time reviewing the books I do not love.
The main character had so much understanding of people.
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.
I think his time in Viet Nam was amazing.
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!
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!
No, the narration dragged on right along with the story.
Stay away... stay far far away!
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."
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