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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 Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Roger
  • oakland, CA, United States
  • 07-22-09

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.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lisa
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 02-07-11

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Noam
  • D.N. Menashe, Israel
  • 04-11-14

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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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

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Not the Great Railway Bazaar

Disappointed. Author was melancholic throughout and seemed to move from one episode of dull ranting to another. If you are expecting an impressive sequel to the Great Railway Bazaar, skip and look elsewhere.

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  • Story

Extraordinary writing; superb narration

Theroux retraces (to the extent he was able) the journey he made three decades earlier in the Great Railway Bazaar. I travel a lot and read a lot of travel books. This is one of the best travel books I have ever read (including Theroux's other travel books, of which I'm a big fan). Mature, poignant, unflinchingly observation of "countries with their pants down" and the human condition in this too hot, overcrowded and economically unequal world. Even after 20 hours + narration I didn't want it to end. McDonough's superb narration is a perfect fit.

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  • Story

A more mature Theroux retraces his earlier journey

I am a Theroux fan so was predisposed to like this book anyway. But it was especially good because he was retracing journey he described in The Great Railway Bazaar. The journey had changed and so had the man himself.

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A must read!

I read The Great Railway Bazaar and I listened to Ghost Train... Godfather II is a great movie, but perhaps not as great as its forerunner. Is this the same? Too soon to say. Let me sleep on it. I have too much respect for Paul Theroux to let myself be disappointed. I have no doubt I will listen to this one again. 👍🏼

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Paul Theroux Writes Winners

Theroux is a master writer. if you are an armchair traveler Theroux is the man to travel with.

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  • Overall
  • Carolyn
  • 05-26-09

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

  • Overall
  • Dr John
  • 05-16-09

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

  • Overall
  • Nigel
  • 04-13-13

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.

  • Overall
  • BillyBeatnik
  • 07-19-12

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.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 10-23-17

great afterward to Railway Bazaar! <br />

much more detailed account of travels interwoven with obscure but always fascinating history. preferred the Railway Bazaar narrator for his range of accents...but this listening was equally enjoyable

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  • John
  • 10-07-16

Honest, articulate, insightful, and instructive

Easy to read in a conversational and observant manner with honest reflection on the state of play.