Gregory's Reviews > The Pillars of Hercules

The Pillars of Hercules by Paul Theroux
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's review
Nov 30, 2008

really liked it

This is the first book by Theroux that I have read. It's a literary guide to the Mediterranean, another in a long line of books about the grand tour. He has many occasion to muse on the travel writers in whose footsteps he is following. His destinations are the places made famous by authors: Robert Graves holed up on Mallorca, Fitzgerald's characters on the French Riviera, even Allistair Crowley who apparently lived in Sicily. He admits to a disdain for the ancient world, which seems a shame, and he gets many of his few references wrong (the Roman amphitheater in Arles was not a hippodrome, Pompei was not on the coast). But none of that mattered to me, I found him to be a keen observer of people and atmosphere. His descriptions of a local passegiatta in Sicily and the state of near anarchy that reigned along the Baltic after the war were moving.

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