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jbradway

jbradway

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The Great Railway Bazaar

The Great Railway Bazaar - Paul Theroux I love Theroux's rambling architecture. It's a frantic bit of Dylan Thomas-like prose, touching here and moving to the next before any significant revelation has sunk in. He's definitely someone I want to read but he's not someone I want sharing my train compartment for 6,000 miles across the Soviet Union.On one hand, this barely seems like travel lit to me. It is about travelers more than locales - his description of the many stops along the path are brief interludes to break up the conversations with the other tourists or to shake him out of daydream rhapsodies. Travel is about travelers in this book, even though Theroux hints at intimacy with each stop that might make you think that place is first in his heart. On the other hand, why couldn't that be exactly what travel is about? The destination is the train. Its passengers are the colorful local culture.The Great Railway Bazaar goes a little too long and Theroux-the-character does become tiresome - a bit. Misanthropy and snark are in his toolbox. He has a lovely moment here and there, even one that wouldn't have been out of place in Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales. But there's no longing in it; no call to hit the rails. Maybe that's why I think it falls outside of the travel lit I know; this book makes me not want to go on such a trip, interesting as it is.