Amanda's Reviews > The Great Railway Bazaar

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
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Jun 21, 10

Read from June 17 to 21, 2010

Theroux's book, the Great Railway Bazaar, is an interesting tale of his trek across the Asian continent on various railroads, with varying degrees of elegance or dilapidation. He goes from traveling in what would be considered one slim step above a human cattle car to the height of luxury from one stop to another. He meets the best and the worst of travelers throughout his journey.

It is a very amusing book, although somewhat dated by the trust he has in his fellow passengers. He does not worry about people stealing his possessions or being in danger when he stops at various places throughout his journey. However, his time in Vietnam crosses over the end of the war there and holds some political views on how Americans left the country behind.

I highly recommend this book. The style is fluid and gives a great sense of place. I cannot wait to read one of his recent books that details his return journey.
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Quotes Amanda Liked

Paul Theroux
“travel [is] flight and pursuit in equal parts.”
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux
“The disorder in Yashar's apartment was that comfortable littering and stacking that only another writer can recognize as order - the considered scatter of papers and books a writer builds around himself until it acquires the cozy solidity of a nest.”
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux
“I always found myself in the company of Australians, who were like a reminder that I'd touched bottom.”
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux
“But: all journeys were return journeys. The farther one traveled, the nakeder one got, until, towards the end, ceasing to be animated by any scene, one was most oneself, a man in a bed surrounded by empty bottles. The man who says, "I've got a wife and kids" is far from home; at home he speaks of Japan. But he does not know - how could he? - that the scenes changing in the train window from Victoria Station to Tokyo Central are nothing compared to the change in himself; and travel writing, which cannot but be droll at the outset, moves from journalism to fiction, arriving promptly as the Kodama Echo at autobiography. From there any further travel makes a beeline to confession, the embarrassed monologue in a deserted bazaar. The anonymous hotel room in a strange city...”
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux
“All travel is circular. I had been jerked through Asia, making a parabola on one of the planet's hemispheres. After all, the grand tour is just the inspired man's way of heading home. ”
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux
“...a society without jaywalkers might indicate a society without artists.”
Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar


Reading Progress

06/17/2010 page 45
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