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World's End

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  420 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
"Travel writing at its best."
Author and travel writer Paul Theroux does what no one else can: he travels to the isolated, unusual, and fascinating spots of the world, and creates an elegy to them that makes readers feel they are traveling with him. Evocative, breathtaking, intriguing, here is the armchair traveler's guide to the sites of the world he makes
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 24th 1982 by Penguin Books (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 926)
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I had experienced Theroux the novelist, but I figured it's about time I stopped resisting Theroux the travel writer. This book contains large sections of 6 books of railway journeys around the globe. I concentrated on the parts from "The Great Railway Bazaar", "The Old Patagonian Express", and "Riding the Iron Rooster".

He doesn't spend any time oohing and ahing over artistic or geographical splendors or waste much effort on wonderful food and architecture. Nor does he really try to capture a co
May 07, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I read this book several years ago, but remembered the essence of Theroux's thirst and delight with travel. It is a compilation of selections from other books covering a broad area of the world. As always, Theroux's books are not the usual travelogues, but combine history, humor and wonderful anecdotes.
Carol Wakefield
If you are a fan of travel writings and use libraries, you are stuck with Theroux. I have read the books, mostly years ago, from which these exerts are taken, found them cheerless then and cheerless now. He presents interesting information about places he travels but never gives much indication of enjoying those travels. I always feel dissatisfied after reading his books-- was it really all that bad? Still I seem to be running out of possibilities on the 800 and900 shelves of my local library. S ...more
Dan Tasse
Jan 17, 2011 Dan Tasse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
This book (some short stories from his other books) covers some India, some Latin America, some UK/Ireland, some China/Tibet, and bits and pieces of other places. I think he travels in pretty much the way I'd want to. Maybe he goes to a few extremes. But I quite liked his perspective: not much worrying about "am I a good traveler or just a tourist?", more just great stories. And not-so-great stories too, and seeing the interesting bits even in an odd English B&B or a terrible Tibetan trip.
Marcelo Ottoni
Apr 30, 2015 Marcelo Ottoni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, eua
O livro é uma seleção de trechos de outros seis livros de viagens do autor. Muitos desses ainda não têm edição em português. O apanhado acaba cobrindo relatos de boa parte do mundo. O mais interessante de ler Paul Theroux é que ele não se restringe ao que viu nas viagens que fez, mas ao que viveu.
Jan 28, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I did not realize when I wrote my first [travel book] that every trip is unique. my travel book is about my trip, not yours or anyone else's. Even if someone had come with me and written a book, about the trip, it would have been a different book. This is true of life in general." "Another thing I did not know was that every trip has a historical dimension. Not long after I traveled through those countries there were political changes. (It seems to happen every time.)"

Theroux travels are inter
Mr. Gottshalk
Sep 27, 2015 Mr. Gottshalk rated it really liked it
This collection of 14 short stories has it all. Expect to find flawed characters challenged by their own conscious, their environment, or the company they choose to keep. Many of the shorter stories are forgettable, but there are a couple grotesque ones that will stick with me. The reason why I gave this book 4 stars is because Theroux saved the best for last: The Greenest Island, where two characters barely in their 20's flee the United States for Puerto Rico, only to find that a change in sett ...more
Jul 30, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Paul Theroux's travel books so I tend to pick up any that I haven't read when I come across them. When I pulled this out of the stack while packing to move I expected it to be a single cohesive journey rather than a series of excerpts from several of his books. I enjoyed it, especially seeing as it is broken up into little bites so I could read just a little bit here and there. The first book of his that I read was Riding the Iron Rooster and it turned me on to travel narratives in gener ...more
Feb 25, 2014 heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writing is largely uninspired. I don't think Theroux has any real gift with words. I mean, this book is a collection of selected "best" chapters from his bestsellers and they fail to impress.

Theroux is nevertheless a prolific traveler with an astounding breadth of travel experience. The details he shares with his readers are handy (I plan to do some of the routes he has, thus his works were recommended to me by a much older traveler friend). For that I give Theroux three stars.
Aug 30, 2008 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I have had for several years and started a couple times but this time I plowed through it and reading 90% of it, some parts I missed. The chapters in this book are taken out of other travel books by Theroux. Many of the travels are on trains in various parts of the world. The one thing I do like about his writings is the emphasis he puts on the characters he meets in his travels rather than the places in and of themselves. He traveled to places I wouldn’t have had a desire to see, ...more
pete parodi
Sep 07, 2015 pete parodi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Love the way he writes, you feel the drama of the moment. This was the third book by him that I have read and have enjoyed all!
Feb 27, 2015 Jerry-Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
This collection of short stories is supposed to be tied together by a diversity of places, but it's more the inherent sadness of the characters that is the thread that carries through. Each, of course, sad in their own way; some aren't sad in the truly unhappy sense but in the "reader looking at their life" sense.

As an introduction to Theroux this might discourage readers, but each story, on its own, is so well crafted (except perhaps "The Greenest Isle") that if readers take their time - perhap
Oct 30, 2014 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This riveting account of the voyages of Magellan and his crews is a well written, accurate, absolutely engrossing read.
Aug 11, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A selection of several of Theroux's early travel books. I found it a little difficult to "drop in" to a section from each a book without some context. i would advise just grabbing a copy of one of his complete books like "To the Ends of the Earth" or " The Pillars of Hercules" about his travels along the Mediterranean. One of my favorites is "The Kingdom by the Sea" about his travels around the perimeter of England. Theroux stays away from large cities and tourist sites and writes about the peop ...more
Sonia Almeida Dias
I believe the main problem with this book, for me of course, is that it is made of parts of previous books from the author. So it really has no continuity line, apart from being made from train travels. I am also not a big fan of train travelling, just for the sake of it. So for me overall the book was not very apealing.
Also, at some points I would profoundly disagree with the author's views. That is not always bad, but it was at a structural level. :)
So... not my cup of tea.
Jun 22, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The big effect of this book is to make me want to go out and buy the full versions of all of the books that are featured here. Mr. Theroux is my kind of travel writer- he focuses on the journey, the people that he meets along the way and the way different places make him feel at different times of his life. The second big effect of this book is to make me want even more to get on with my own great journey . . .
Lynn Pribus
Picked this up from my gym's swap table as a tattered paperback when packing for vacation. Perfect to read on a plane, thought I.

Indeed it was. It's a compilation of excerpts from a half dozen of his previous books and some commentary now seems very date. For example, he didn't tweet or txt anyone. He was just on his own. By himself. Connecting with locals.

Always a reliably enjoyable read.
Carol Bartold
In these mostly very short essays, Theroux travels within his native New England, to almost the tip of Patagonia, on the Orient Express, through frozen Tibet on a harrowing car trip, on a walk in Wales, and beyond. Even in these compact pieces, it's clear that Theroux does more than place through a place or over terrain. He lets each difficult place and its people absorb him.
Sep 29, 2009 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think Paul Theroux would be fun to travel with - he likes meeting people, exploring, traveling on a shoestring. You definitely get a sense of time and place in this book. It's obvious he has a great sense of humor. I just think that a lot of it was lost in turning his writing (take my opinion with a grain of salt as I haven't read his other books) into a set of vignettes.
Nov 26, 2008 Milo rated it liked it
Theroux is the genius author of The Mosquito Coast which was made into a movie directed by Peter Wier and starring Harrison Ford at his acting pinancle. The movie bombed at the box office but was loved by the critics.
Worls End is a collection of short stories which are eclectic to say the least. A strange unusual read. Not his best.
Aditya Candrasaputra
Random tales of travel that really make you want to see more of the world!
It's just snippets from his various journeys though, so you're left wanting more of the full Paul Theroux travelogue
Oct 30, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok
I read this long ago, but remember being disappointed. I was introduced to Theroux through his travel writing and really liked his novel “The Mosquito Coast”-- I know I have it stored away in a box somewhere??
Perfer the whole travel book to this collection of snippets. No continuity and the sories lose something in translation. but I do love this author.
Zoe Jussel
Feb 14, 2012 Zoe Jussel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I think train of a train journey, I think Theroux. He writes in such a way that you defintely feel you are along for the ride.
Philip Tidman
Good short story collection, mainly set in England, with the title story named after the small area of London of the same name.
This is the same text as Theroux's "Travelling the world," just without the pictures (which don't add anything in my opinion).
Jul 06, 2011 Katie rated it did not like it
I haven't read anything by him before ~ he's known as a travel writer, so I'm hoping for some interesting tales...
Nov 01, 2013 Jenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily the best travel writer, for the introspective, quiet thinking type journey.
Dave Donahoe
Dec 17, 2011 Dave Donahoe rated it really liked it
read for the first time during my semester abroad at Cambridge University, England
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Paul Edward Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work is The Great Railway Bazaar (1975), a travelogue about a trip he made by train from Great Britain through Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, through South Asia, then South-East Asia, up through East Asia, as far east as Japan, and then back across Russia to his point of origin. Although perhaps best know ...more
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“A little farther on, he said, “What do you think of India?” “It’s a hard question,” I said. I wanted to tell him about the children I had seen that morning pathetically raiding the leftovers of my breakfast, and ask him if he thought there was any truth in Mark Twain’s comment on Indians: “It is a curious people. With them, all life seems to be sacred except human life.” But I added instead, “I haven’t been here very long.” 0 likes
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