Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar

Book - 2008
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An unmitigated treat for the hundreds of thousands of fans of the first Bazaar. In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Theroux recreates an epic journey he took thirty years ago, a giant loop by train (mostly) through Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia. In short, he traverses all of Asia top to bottom, and end to end. In the three decades since he first travelled this route, Asia has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed, China has risen, India booms, Burma slowly smothers, and Vietnam prospers despite the havoc unleashed upon it the last time Theroux passed through. He witnesses all this and more in a 25,000 mile journey, travelling as the locals do, by train, car, bus, and foot. His odyssey takes him from Eastern Europe, still hungover from Communism, through tense but thriving Turkey, into the Caucasus, where Georgia limps back toward feudalism while its neighbour Azerbaijan revels in oil-driven capitalism. As he penetrates deeper into Asia's heart, his encounters take on an otherworldly cast. The two chapters that follow show us Turkmenistan, a profoundly isolated society at the mercy of an almost comically egotistical dictator, and Uzbekistan, a ruthless authoritarian state. From there, he retraces his steps through India, Mayanmar, China, and Japan, providing his penetrating observations on the changes these countries have undergone. Brilliant, caustic, and totally addictive, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is Theroux at his very best.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : McClelland & Stewart, c2008
ISBN: 9780771085338
Branch Call Number: 915.0443 THE
Characteristics: 496 p. : map ; 24 cm

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A nice follow up to Great Railway Bazaar, 33 years later. Having been to many of these places, and being one who loves train travel, the wonderfully descriptive travel writing of Theroux never disappoints me. It was quite interesting to note the changes, or lack thereof, to some of those destinations since he first traveled the route in the 70's.

ChristchurchLib Aug 09, 2016

In the 1970s, author Paul Theroux took a railroad trip through Eastern Europe, Asia, India, China, Japan, and Siberia, and wrote about his adventures in The Great Railway Bazaar, a book that became a modern travel classic. More than 30 years later, he revisited the past and recreated his journey, which revealed the dramatic changes that had occurred since the writing of his original travelogue. Publishers Weekly says, "no matter where his journey takes him, Theroux always sends back dazzling postcards." Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a must-read for fans of Theroux, travel, and trains.

d2013 May 03, 2014

It's like traveling free and without the jet lag. Very interesting read!

d
dmason12
Apr 25, 2011

Fantastic account of Theroux's trip throughout eastern europe, central asia, south asia, SE asia, Japan, Russia....

A detailed, honest, and ruminative journey, filled with observations only an experienced and passionate traveller like Theroux could express in words. Very enlightening for those areas not yet visisted - truly a learning experience for off-the-beaten track places such as Georgia and Turkmenistan. I highly recommend, especially for armchair travellers such as myself.

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