A final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of fans. Journeying alone, in what he feels will be his last African journey, Paul Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Having travelled down the right-hand side of Africa in Dark Star Safari, he sets out this time from Cape Town, heading northward up the left-hand side, through South Africa and Namibia, to Botswana, heading for the Congo, in search of the end of the line.
©2013 Paul Theroux (P)2013 Recorded Books
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"The B side of Dark Star Safari"
The same observant Theroux,but not much in the way of train travel.Still stubbornly trying to navigate places that are off the beaten track.I have grown tired of his political rants and prefer when he sticks to simple descriptions of the places most of us will never visit.Describing the customs and personalities of the people he runs into.Excellent narration.Dark Star was a much more interesting book.This only covers South Africa,Namibia and Angola,whic is a truly insane place.
"Paul Theroux heads into the African Sunset"
This is a sad and eye-opening book about Africa. Theroux is absolutely in love with Africa and absolutely unrelenting in his undressed detail of the darker side of the continent.
I think it is astonishing and amazing that a man getting up there in years, an older gent by now, would take on a trip like this one. Using the common transportation of Africa, gnarly buses, loud and unkempt trains and his feet, he heads into Africa and makes clear and careful note of all the details. The dirt, the noise, the flies, the people both good and bad. This is as close to an authentic experience as one can get without actually going there.
Theroux has always had an unstinting and unrelenting eye for detail. After reading a description of travel in China complete with dirt and phlegm, I was cured of any romance I might have had about the country. The same is true for this book. Zona Verde is a BIG book, and takes you from places where the wild life is still wild to places where the wild has been destroyed and only war remains.
It does lag a bit in places because of the attention to detail, but it really is like being there in his pocket. This book is so worth listening to just to begin to understand what Africa and Africans face as they try to get to the future we aleady inhabit.
I was not terribly fond of the narrator, he did an okay job but it made the book come across as very stuffy, still its well worth a read/listen because its the candle on the cake of Theroux's travel writing.
"A cranky Theroux - better to browse this one"
I am a fan of Paul Theroux, both his fiction and travelogue non-fiction but this one left me with the same feeling I did after having watched the last Indiana Jones movie - sad and nostalgic for his earlier works. As usual, Theroux is a daring and candid observer who prefers to tread unbeaten paths and this book is a really a collection of essays on his Africa journey rather than a conventional narrative. Some of his encounters are more interesting than others and I found the latter half of the book more interesting than the beginning. A few common undercurrents run through his observations - the urbanization of the population, the westernization of the indigenous peoples and their culture, the environmental degradation of the bush aka Zona Verde, and the misguided attempts by foreign do gooders to infuse donations into corrupt and dependent regimes. All valid and important messages. But at the same time, despite his protestation that he is not an "Afropessimist"' his crankiness shows through and this has none of the optimism of say, The Happy Isles of Oceana. Clearly, Theroux is not pleased with the changes he has seen over the 50 years since he first set foot on the continent as a Peace Corps volunteer. The reading voice of the narrator only compounds the elegiac tone of this book. Better to browse some of the more interesting chapters near the end than read this cover to cover.
"Norman Dietz should have read this"
Please have Norman Dietz narrate this book over again, he is the only person who can narrate Paul Theroux's novels with any credibility.
"Powerful independent view of Africa"
Therouz's amazing ability to select human interest out of every available experience
Great Railway Bazaar. Same technique
Exploration of African slum villages
Theroux is a masterful writer - word pictures, depiction of character, capturing ideas and philosophies through every day encounters
"Norman Dietz should have read this."
In some respects yes, but mostly no. The narrator's voice takes a long time to get used to. Too many pauses, too slow and even stops to suck on a lozenge. This takes away from Theroux's writing.
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