Chris's Reviews > Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux
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's review
Jun 15, 2010

really liked it
Read from August 10 to November 27, 2010

This sequel to The Great Railway Bazaar, one of my favorite books, adds more depth and nuance to Paul Theroux's previous train trip around the Eastern Hemisphere. We learn more about why he took that trip, how the success of his literary career meshed with the dissolution of his family and how the world has changed in the 33 years since he last rode the rails.

The use of "ghost" in the title, though poetic, isn't quite accurate. He leads you to believe he is a specter floating above his previous trek. But he isn't. Theroux may be more subdued now (certainly less manic than he described himself in Bazaar, frantically urging the Trans-Siberian Railway to deliver him home by Christmas -- in vain), but he is very much alive. If anything, he seemed to find a red-light district at every stop, even a barren, snow-covered burg on the Japanese coastline.

Theroux is one of America's best living writers. It pains me that it has taken this long to find that out.

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