Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

National BestsellerIn Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Theroux recreates an epic journey he took thirty years ago, a giant loop by train (mostly) through Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, China, Japan, and Siberia. In short, he traverses all of Asia top to bottom, and end to end. In the three decades since he first travelled this route, Asia has undergone phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed...

Details Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

TitleGhost Train to the Eastern Star
Release DateSep 9th, 2008
PublisherMcClelland & Stewart
GenreTravel, Nonfiction, Cultural, Asia, Autobiography, Memoir, India, Adventure

Reviews Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

  • Chrissie
    Travels from England to France to Germany to Austria to Hungary to Romania to Bulgaria to Turkey to Georgia to Turkmenistan to India to Sri Lanka to Burma to Thailand and China and Laos and Malaysia and Singapore and Cambodia and Vietnam and Japan and Russia via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. He returns to England by fast trains via Belarus then Berlin, Paris and Kent. The captivating parts begin from Turkey on. Interesting. Philosophical in tone. ...
  • Shovelmonkey1
    Travel is forced upon some and for others it is a decadent pursuit (see recent Grazia article regarding Princess Beatrice, Kate Moss, Simon Cowell et al toasting themselves like smug pink seals on the beaches of St Barts). And there is the other category where travel is a way of life and a part of life and Paul Theroux, greatest, frequently most jaded-est and cynical of all modern travel writers falls into the last category. Paul Theroux is the a...
  • Bob
    Dang, there was an awesome quote toward the end of this massive travelogue, where the author addresses the reader directly, congratulating him or her on reading long past the point of comfort and common sense. Only the truly dedicated reader, writer, or traveler will love this bookand if it hadn't been overdue at the library, I would transcribe it here.Endurance itself is one of the innumerable topics Theroux goes on about for months and miles th...
  • Gerald Sinstadt
    The reader who opens the first page of a travel book is about to embark upon a journey with the author; it helps if they are compatible people. Having travelled profitably with Theroux previously, I found in this book that I came progressively to dislike him more and more.The tipping point was Singapore. In earlier days as a lecturer there, Theroux was apparently badly treated. Now, decades later, he takes his calculated revenge in a long chapter...
  • Bucket
    I spent a wonderful week following Theroux along on his journey, repeatedly tracing my finger along the route on the map in the front of his book. I found the first 1/2 of the book to be the most fascinating, as Theroux describes how his life has changed in the last 30 years and really digs down deep into the life and culture of the places he visits. I really liked the sections on Turkey, India, and south Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapo...
  • Kiwiflora
    Twenty five years ago while living in a Pacific tropical paradise, I would visit the two very small English language book/stationery shops at least weekly to feed my reading appetite. Being very small shops there was a very limited range of books, so I had to expand my horizons somewhat and found myself reading books I would never have normally read, like Paul Theoroux's 'The Great Railway Bazaar'. Even though I was quite young still at the time,...
  • Grady McCallie
    I checked out this audiobook version of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star from my local library to keep me company on a couple of long drives. Having made it just to Istanbul, I won't be finishing.I appreciate Theroux's honesty in the opening chapter about the miserable circumstance of his previous trip, 30 years before, of which this is a reprise. But it was hard to swallow what he'd done - set off roaming, temporarily abandoning two small childre...
  • João Roque
    A literatura de viagens fascina-me e lamentavelmente tenho lido poucos livros deste género."Comboio-Fantasma para o Oriente" é o primeiro livro que leio de Paul Theroux, mas obrigatoriamente terei que ler outros com especial destaque para "O Grande Bazar Ferroviário" que o autor escreveu depois de uma viagem efectuada em 1973 com um percurso quase idêntico ao que agora relata, de Londres ao Japão, passando por países do leste europeu, Turqu...
  • Michael
    Paul Theroux gives a book talk at National Book Fair.One thing I learned from this was that I have been mispronouncing his name - the second syllable rhymes with "blue" not "blow."I am about 200 pages into this at the moment and it is mostly good. The original Railway Bazaar focused on the travels in Asia, which I reminded myself when he blazed through Europe and deals with the southeast European countries little attention (and at that, mostly ve...
  • Chuck
    This is an excellent book, which I read on the recommendation of my daughter. Back in the early seventies Paul Theroux documented his trip by rail from London to Paris, Istanbul, much of the middle east, India, southeast Asia, Japan and then back across Asia on the transsiberian railroad. This book, was known as The Great Railway Bazaar. The book was very popular and the author decided over thirty years later to take a nearly identical trip to le...
  • Lisa
    I gave this a good try, but it sat on the coffee table for weeks and weeks and I kept finding excuses not to go on with it (sudoku, brushing the dog, reading the TV guide when I don't watch TV). Finally I gave up and took it to the op shop. Patronising, hyper-critical, unempathetic...
  • Erin Van Rheenen
    Funny how the best travel writers are usually cranks, curmudgeons, or kvetchers. Paul Theroux is surely one of the great curmudgeons, entertaining us with his snippy asides and astringent prose, educating us with his insight into world culture.Thankfully for readers like me, Theroux has been writing for decades, novels and essays as well as travel books. Because I loved his earlier train-travel books, I was looking forward to Ghost Train to the E...
  • Brooklyn
    Maybe 4.5? I loved Paul Theroux's Great Railway Bazaar back in the day - and was looking forward to this follow-up thirty years later for Theroux. Ghost Train recounts his train trip (mostly) across Asia - revisiting many of the same places he went to in 1973. Some have changed drastically - like Cambodia, Vietnam. Some he cannot even visit - like Iraq and Iran. Russia was the Soviet Union back in 1973 - and 30 years later was no longer one big c...
  • Erwin Maack
    "Era a respeito de uma jornada real ser muito mais do um afastamento por um intervalo vívido ou vazio. A melhor viagem não é uma simples jornada de trem, nem mesmo uma coleção delas, mas algo muito mais longo e complexo: uma experiência da quarta dimensão, com paradas, começos e esperas, momentos de doença e convalescença, atrasos e correrias e demoras inevitáveis, com o súbito fenômeno da felicidade como recompensa esporádica. Cert...
  • Eris
    In this, Theroux returns to travel the same journey (as closely as physically/politically possible) in the Great Railway Bazaar. He is older, wiser, more observant this time and brings his maturity and insight into places revisited. This book is not to be sped through, it is one you read slowly so as to digest the colorful descriptions and reflect on his observations. Many of the places he returns to in this book are places that have recently or ...
  • Delta Willis
    Theroux begins with disadvantage, having once described me as a "glamour girl"* despite having never met; so his harangue about travel writers penning glib impressions without exploring the side streets falls flat. The first chapters are full of hard rain, hard to take confessions about failures in his private life, and every scene (even lovable London) takes on an odious sheen of mildew and rot. We tour much "disappointed Gothic."But I love trai...
  • Jennifer Autry
    Ok, so I didn't actually finish reading this book. I couldn't stand the author. It is a story about a train trip from Europe to Asia. A trip he had taken 30 years earlier. However, he informs that reader that he is happier to take this trip than the one 30 years ago. The previous trip he wasn't happy because his wife wasn't supportive. I can't imagine why a wife with young kids wouldn't be supportive of her husband leaving to go who knows where f...
  • Jim
    Paul, Paul, you’re mellowing way too much. Of, say, the fifty people you meet on this trip, where are the hateful pen portraits of forty-nine of them compared to the grudging likeability of the one exception to the rule? It’s almost the other way ‘round. Giving money to poor rickshaw drivers with hard luck stories? Come on Paul. How about stiffing him and telling him he stinks like a sewer rat? He has a go at a born again American Christian...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    Over thirty years ago I fell in love with The Great Railway Bazaar, a travel book like no other by a then untested author. In the intervening years, Paul Theroux has become one of my go-to guys for both fiction and nonfiction, uncommon talent for a writer. Now he has recreated the route he took all those years ago, a feat he points out was not performed by other author/travelers (except perhaps for Richard Henry Dana in 3 Years Before the Mast an...
  • Arvind
    4.5/5 This is is the sequel to the author's classic 'The Great Railway Bazaar' written in 1973. The author retraces the same journey from UK to Japan/Russia and back on trains. This is my first Theroux book and i chose to read this one set in 2006.The author sets the tone of the book in the first chapter - a joy of idleness, unhurried conversations with wit and empathy. And so we chat with fellow passengers, other authors, taxi-drivers, students ...
  • Pat
    I don't like any of Paul Theroux's novels, including The Mosquito Coast - too dark for my liking. However, I do like much of his travel writing. Still, some of his travel writing has been marred by his persona, which is as likely to come across as nasty and with a generally dyspeptic view of the people he meets and the places he goes. However, when his mood is better, I really enjoy his writing. This was one of his better books - a retracing of t...
  • John
    I disliked his previous book (Safari), perhaps Theroux at his crankiest and most self-important. Here, he's more his usual self, exasperated at things that'd bother most of us, too, but overall a decent, observant fellow. It's a long book, esp on audio (25 hours), so by the time he hooks up with Pico Iyer in Japan (after previous encounters with Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul and Arthur C. Clarke in Sri Lanka), my attention began to flag; the book's fin...
  • PMP
    I used to think, man, this Paul Theroux really gets to the heart of each place he visits But then I read the Singapore chapter here, and it is so off, so coloured by his prejudices, that I now doubt his impressions of everywhere else he has been. He's still an ace writer; I just now take my Theroux with more salt.
  • Andy Farley
    Wonderfully insightful (and often caustic) view of the wider world that reminded me of my own trips and inspires me to seek more.
  • Steve Hersh
    Almost as good as the two other Theroux books I've read, but not quite. Still a five star book though. As always, he sets the standard for travelogues. I especially loved the parts where he meets with other writers in the various places he visits and talks about literature and life.
  • Quo
    Lin Yutang once commented that the ideal traveler does not know his precise destination; he does not recall where the journey began or even his name. There is something to being open & flexible, concentrating on the process of travel, just being in motion and not focusing on so many other details. This is not precisely Paul Theroux's approach to travel, though he does take considerable pains to be flexible & also to remain anonymous while traveli...
  • Sayantan Mukhuti
    Paul Theroux's love of railways is close to a compulsion.In 1973,Paul Theroux traveled by train from London to Tokyo through India and South-east Asia, before returning on the Trans-Siberian Express to his starting point.This is a follow up of that trip with all the differences and the stark changes in the world in the beginning of the 21st Century.I had earlier read 'The Great Railway Bazaar' by Paul Theroux after flipping through some pages of ...
  • Mark Walker
    Follow Theroux as he embarks on a 25,000-mile epic journey through Asia retracing the steps of a trip he’d taken thirty years before. Since then, Theroux records phenomenal change. The Soviet Union has collapsed and China has risen; India grows, while Burma is mothered by a military dictatorship and, most interestingly, Vietnam flourished despite the havoc the United States had unleashed on it. No one describes the texture, sights, sounds and t...