⭑⭑⭑½ (3.5/5 see book reviews)

Three sentence summary

Paul Theroux’s memoir of his travels across Europe and Asia by rail wherein he recounts detailed conversations with people he encounters.

The journey by rail takes him on the (sadly now defunct, I checked) Orient Express to Vienna, then to Istanbul, Tehran, through Afganistan, to Peshawar, then a zig-zagging path through India1, a plane ride to Yangon (née Rangoon) in Myanmar (née Burma), Mandalay, then on to Thailand, Singapore, another plane ride to Vietnam, then another plane to Japan, and finally the trip home on the famous Trans-Siberian.

There are enjoyable moments of glib humor, a lot of sex workers and other unfortunate travelers where the glib humor is less enjoyable, and a frank look at America’s influence of Vietnam as of 1975.

Details

  • Title: The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia
  • Author: Paul Theroux
  • Pages: 354
  • Format: EBook
  • Publisher: Mariner Books
  • ISBN: 06-1865-894-7
  • Genre: Travel

  1. Lahore → Delhi, Delhi → Shimla, Shimla → Mumbai (née Bombay) by way of Jaipur (this is confusing—there’s a chapter about Jaipur after mentioning Mumbai, but it seems silly to go Delhi→Mumbai→Jaipur→Chennai—this is a guess/it’s unclear), Mumbai → Chennai (née Madras), Chennai → Colombo, Sri Lanka (née Ceylon) → Galle, Sri Lanka, Galle → Chennai, Chennai→Kolkata (née Calcutta)↩︎