The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

The Great Railway Bazaar

First published in 1975, Paul Theroux's strange, unique, and hugely entertaining railway odyssey has become a modern classic of travel literature. Here Theroux recounts his early adventures on an unusual grand continental tour. Asia's fabled trains -- the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express -- are the stars of a journey that takes him on a loo...

Details The Great Railway Bazaar

TitleThe Great Railway Bazaar
Release DateJun 1st, 2006
PublisherMariner Books
GenreTravel, Nonfiction, Cultural, Asia, Autobiography, Memoir

Reviews The Great Railway Bazaar

  • Brad
    Paul are a miserable bastard. On every excruciating page of this around Europe and Asia whine-fest, I wanted to shake your self-righteous little New England prick shoulders and beat some enjoyment into your crabby-bastardness.The trains are late or crowded or smelly -- waaaaah!The food is crappy or elsewhere or non-existent -- waaaaah! waaaaah!The service is poor or sarcastic or requiring bribes (sorry..."baksheesh." Boy are you eve...
  • Andrew Smith
    I’ve been hearing about Theroux for years and yet had never read one of books. The idea of reading about a man journeying alone was something I couldn’t quite settle to. Would it be tedious and repetitious? Perhaps it’d be like delving into one of those dry guidebooks we’ve all taken with us to a foreign city – lots of information but very little pleasure? In the end curiosity got the better of me and I grabbed an audio copy of perhaps ...
  • Kirsten
    oh dear, yes, he's observant and turns a pretty phrase on every page, makes you laugh, etc. but he's so contemptuous of everyone he comes across i lost interest. skipped all the trains between india and the soviet union. he really loses it at the end and addresses all the russians he meets on the trans siberian railway as monkeys. granted, i have now been in a similar situation, far from home in bleak surroundings at christmastime, like theroux o...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    I started out liking this book, but the author started to grate on my nerves. He took an amazing trip on trains from Europe to Turkey to Iran through Asia including Thailand, Japan, and Siberia. For a large portion of his journey, he is following the "hippie trail," popular in the 1960s and 1970s for people traveling from England to India. But his tone and commentary on the people he meets were not always the kindest. In fact he seemed rather uni...
  • Kavita
    The book is an account of a journey through Europe and Asia by train. The concept is good, and the author made a great journey, and has the gift of story telling. But the author himself comes across as a stupid, rude and horrible person who abuses random people, makes snide remarks, plays practical jokes on helpful locals, and in general appears quite slap-worthy. He mostly behaves himself in the first half of the book, but on reaching Japan, he ...
  • Teresa
    Penso (pensava) que viajar é algo para viver, não para ler ou ouvir contar; por isso nunca me interessei por literatura de viagens. Mas como tenho um fraquinho por comboios, e muitos dos livros do Paul Theroux têm comboios nas capas, decidi escolher um para experimentar: O Grande Bazar Ferroviário que foi o primeiro relato de viagens de Theroux. Partiu de Londres em Setembro de 1973 e regressou quatro meses depois. Diz, no Prefácio, que na s...
  • Jeremy Allan
    So Paul Theroux takes a trip from Paris to Japan and back, all on the railroad (with some minor air and sea deviations), seeing the world in all its sundry chaos on the way. I couldn't have been more excited to start this book when I did, being a lover of train travel (mostly without the opportunity to express that love), and curious about all these places he had visited--Afghanistan, Siberia, Vietnam, India, Singapore, many more--that I would li...
  • Ilana
    In this 1975 bestseller, Paul Theroux, an American author, recounts his four-month journey by train in 1973 from London through Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, ending in the Soviet Union. He mentions taking detailed notes in his journal, but there are so many vivid details about all the sights and sounds and especially the people he sees and talks to along the way that he must have enjoyed indulging in some ficti...
  • Matt
    Less a travel book and more a book about the physical act of travelling. Theroux has a refreshing lack of romance about the journey and the places he visits; most places are dirty, dull, unbearably hot or cold, and full of locals whose sole aim seems to be to rip him off. And although Theroux seems to enjoy very few of his stopovers, he feels compelled to travel and to sample these places. And as the book progresses, you feel the main aspect of t...
  • Andrea
    In theory nothing is more romantic than a long voyage aboard a train. In reality you tend to get yourself into strange situations, meet questionable characters, occasionally starve, and be left to your own devices and demons for days at a time, while you bob gently in solitude along the endless tracks. This is a travelogue of just such a voyage. The biggest complaint from others I noticed with this book is apparent negativity and rudeness display...
  • Santhosh
    The travelogue of a drunk, imperialist, chauvinist, self-righteous, elitist travelling in first class, flaunting rules and baksheesh in equal measure, and generally getting on everybody's nerves and goodwill. With that as the base, the rest of the book is engaging enough, especially the conversations with fellow passengers. Set in 1973, the colonial hangover comes along as an undertone for the entire journey, though his connections do open doors,...
  • David Sarkies
    To Asia by Train – and Back Again9 January 2019 Theroux opens this book by suggesting that when he grew up in Maine trains would regularly go by, and when they did he would always dream about being on them. Well, by the end of this book, after spending four months travelling to, around, and back from Asia by train (including a two week long trek across Siberia) the suggestion was that there probably wasn’t any train in the world that he didn...
  • Reid
    Whereas this appears on the surface to be the story of one man taking trains around Asia, it is more an exploration of Theroux's own internal wanderlust. It is also fascinating to today's readers since it was written in 1975 and so much has changed since then, though perhaps most insistent is the fact that so much has not.It is a source of some head-scratching that Theroux generally eschews the investigation of any of the places he travels throug...
  • Melissa
    This book portrays how I feel about travel better than I can articulate. It shows all the effort, the trouble, the fear, the discomfort, the cost, the worry - all the unpleasantness about travel - but at the same time shows why people want to travel despite it all. Not that I would travel like Paul Theroux traveled to write this book. I don't think he would recommend it, either. I don't think he embarked on it for enjoyment and leisure as much as...
  • Luís Miguel
    Aqui está um pequeno mundo dentro de um livro. Um mundo em movimento e parado ao mesmo tempo, como uma viagem de combóio. É um sonho viajar e esta aparenta, a mim pelo menos, ser uma viagem de sonho, mas concretiza-nos ao ponto de nos sentirmos como parte da bagagem. Foi uma experiência rica ler tanta cultura, daquela cultura que se sente nos pormenores.Este não é um livro sobre países nem paisagens, antes um livro sobre pessoas, sobre o m...
  • Tom
    I love Paul Theroux and this, one his first is the one which set me off. I wanted to re-read it before reading his new book about taking the same trip across Europe and Asia some thirty years later.In the early 70s which he writes about in this book there were no railways in Afghanistan and I'm pretty sure railways aren't a priority to this day but I'm looking forward to seeing how he crosses the country in the middle of the first decade of the 2...
  • Gangambika
    Theroux, Trains and white male shitfuckery I’ve never read Paul Theroux before. I’ve heard of him. Everyone has heard of him. He is one of the most famous authors of his time, and my dushen’ka is also quite fond of him. I didn’t know that though. I picked this book up because it was a story of a person who had traveled across several countries on trains. I love trains. I’ve spent my whole life on trains, and am often heard bragging abou...
  • Quo
    This is the book that began a sub-genre of travel writing, or so it seems. While there are many varieties of travel narratives, Paul Theroux in The Great Railway Bazaar takes the reader in a somewhat different direction, for this author's travel books are in many ways more self-reflective than they are descriptive of the places he is passing through. And with Theroux, there is always much more detail about the process of travel & about the passag...
  • Lit Bug
    This is perhaps the dullest travelogue that I've ever read. Imagine cruising from London through Paris, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Japan, Siberia and back to London on nothing but trains for commute - long journeys punctuated with local food, local people, local culture and local weather - only to be bored to death while Theroux keeps on heaping loads of details without any insight save some common (sometimes aptly true...
  • Caleb
    Just so we're clear from the beginning, Paul Theroux is a dick. Or a misanthrope or whatever else you want to call him. Now that we've got that behind us, this is one of the best books (and especially best travelogues) I have read. Written in 1975, Theroux traveled for four months by train from London across Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia to Japan, and then back to London along the 6000 mile Trans Siberian Railway. Theroux managed...
  • Arvind
    Show Dont Tell. There are descriptions instead of conversations, there is scorn (and racism maybe) instead of understanding, acidic snobbery instead of empathy and a lot of whining.Even Naipaul was harsh in his criticism, but here the criticism extends to making fun of people's appearance too. Surprisingly, the author undertook the same journey around 35 years later and I have read that book Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and liked it very much....
  • Malvika
    It took me over 40 days to complete this book and I was so glad when it ended. Not because I didn't like it, it just got very exhausting by the end. Also, because I was frustrated I was taking so much time and I hadn't finished any book in 2016. I loved the India and Vietnam chapters, they were a treat to read. Overall, this travelogue was amazing and a special one because I love train journeys as well. This makes taking so much time worth it (al...
  • Jacob Overmark
    Not seldom have I read a book that made me want to go new places.But, Theroux impersonates the saying that "the journey is the destination" in a way that almost urges me to catch the first train to wherever.He is taking you on a train-acid-trip that is hard to topple, harshly distilling the stops between London and Japan via Sri Lanka to anecdotes and observations.
  • AC
    A great read -- no review here, but will comment when I've read (soon) Ghost Train..., which is The Great Railway Bazaar redux, 30 years later.
  • Anfri Bogart
    Anno 1973. Il giro dell'Asia in treno, senza passare dalla Cina, partendo da Londra. Da Parigi a Istanbul si va con l'Orient Express (esisteva ancora, anche se molto scalcagnato), poi Turchia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (compresa Ceylon), Birmania, Thailandia, Malesia, Cambogia, Vietnam (erano appena scappati gli Americani, c'era ancora la guerra contro i Vietcong). Poi aereo fino al Giappone e da lì di nuovo treno, con la Transiberiana ...
  • tooliepanna
    Kiedy patrzę na datę rozpoczęcia czytania przeze mnie tej ksiązki (czerwiec 2017), nie dziwię się, czemu zajęło mi to tyle czasu. Książka napisana jest w taki sposób, że po niespełna rocznej przerwie, otwieram ją w połowie i mogę czytać dalej. Jest ciekawym doświadczeniem, bo opowiada urywki historii poznanych w podróży koleją współpasażerów, na niczym szczególnym się jednak nie skupiając. To pamiętnik z podróży, ch...
  • Katy Dickinson
    From my February 5, 2007 blog Great Railway Bazaar (by Paul Theroux)I finished one book on the drive home and had to go to Border's for a new book to get me through dinner. I thus interrupted my current naval reading theme with the quick read of a famous and excellent travel book: The Great Railway Bazaar: by train through Asia by Paul Theroux (ISBN-10: 0618658947, originally published in 1975).My husban...
  • Phuong Vy Le
    *Review Bản Tiếng Việt* Du Kí - Cá tính của những hành trình "Mỗi chuyến du hành, rong ruổi, thám hiểm đều là một thực thể riêng, chẳng chuyến đi nào giống chuyến đi nào. Chúng có cá tính, tính cách, sự cá biệt, sự độc đáo riêng." - John Steinbeck, "Tôi, Charley & hành trình đi tìm nước Mỹ" Tôi thích du kí, một phần vì sở thích dịch chuyển, một phần t...
  • Mike Rogers
    Writer Paul Theroux goes on a rail journey that must be at least five times longer than the one I just completed. He starts in London and travels through Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, India, China, Japan and Russia. I disagree with Theroux's travel style, which seems to consist of taking the train just for the sake of taking the train. He spends little time in cities and towns along the route and spends most of the book describing the trains t...