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The Great Railway Bazaar

Narrated by: Frank Muller
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Great Railway Bazaar is Paul Theroux's account of his epic journey by rail through Asia. Filled with evocative names of legendary train routes - the Direct-Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Delhi Mail from Jaipur, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Hikari Super Express to Kyoto, and the Trans-Siberian Express - it describes the many places, cultures, sights, and sounds he experienced and the fascinating people he met.

Here he overhears snippets of chat and occasional monologues, and is drawn into conversation with fellow passengers, from Molesworth, a British theatrical agent, and Sadik, a shabby Turkish tycoon, while avoiding the forceful approaches of pimps and drug dealers. This wonderfully entertaining travelogue pays loving tribute to the romantic joys of railways and train travel.

©1975 Paul Theroux (P)1983 Recorded Books LLC

What listeners say about The Great Railway Bazaar

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely Engaging

This is an incredible journey. Theroux’s writing is evocative of sights, sounds, smells, savour, this is a standout that is definitely a book written in its time with views of the era. Having read it, I am truly stunned at the trip that Theroux took at a time when the world was, let’s face it 45 years younger. If you’ve never read this brilliant author, do so now. Muller’s narration is excellent; he must have picked up at least 40 voices and accents - not exactly nailing some of them - but he made this book come alive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MEW
  • 12-11-2019

So unlike Theroux

I have enjoyed all Paul Theroux' other books but this one is all over the place. I will persist for a few more hours only.

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GREAT LISTEN

one of the best I've listened to so far. Frank Muller is an excellent narator and Paul an excellent writer. Highly recommend for train buffs Nd travellers alike.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • david d.
  • 27-03-2011

Just about as good as it gets...

It's great to have this at Audible, an amazing trip by Paul Theroux, with great narration by the late Frank Muller, he captures Theroux's attitude, mood, and "crankiness," perfectly.

Additionally, the book has what I think is the best attribute of recorded books; forward momentum. I usually listen while walking, and I think the best books help me move forward.

8 people found this helpful

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  • rosswgray
  • 05-11-2015

Outstanding Example of Travel Writing

This audiobook was a true pleasure. Frank Muller's narration was pitch perfect at every turn, from his delivery of a Tamil man criticizing the New Delhi elites, to his performance of Theroux's own sometimes understated, sometimes exasperated, sardonic wit.

The greatest pleasure of this travel account is it's subjectivity! Theroux is so frank about his likes and dislikes, his expectations and disappointments, you really connect with his assessments, even if you don't agree with them.

Also, this book is funny as hell. I laughed out loud commuting on the subway, walking in the park, or sitting on my couch. I looked forward to every minute of listening, and I often backed up just to listen to a conversation a second or third time.

Definitely my top listen of 2015 (and I've listened to over 20 books so far this year!).

5 people found this helpful

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  • Carol M
  • 01-02-2017

One of my favorite audio books so far.

Any additional comments?

Sharp observations and dry wit combined with absolutely beautiful writing about far away places. I want to read more by Paul Theroux. And Frank Muller's outstanding voice acting brought this book to life. His voice seemed perfectly suited for the material, I felt like the author himself was there. And his wide range of accents was astonishing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Berta
  • 16-02-2016

Perfect

Great story by Theroux, great performance by Muller.
Hilarious, fascinating, engaging and inspiring.
One of the best books I've read in a long time

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gene Bowker
  • 02-08-2014

must listen for any Theroux fan

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The GRB is one of the classics in travel books. If you are a railroad buff like me, it is almost "required" listening

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Great Railway Bazaar?

Theroux has a way to making the people he meets on the trains into unforgettable characters

What about Frank Muller’s performance did you like?

He has an easy to listen to voice. In my mind he is the voice of Theroux now, even though I don't know what he really sounds like =)

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Umm.. a little too long for that =) Great for a road-trip

1 person found this helpful

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  • Noam
  • 11-04-2014

Excellent depiction

I love travel and love travelogues.
This is my first experience with Paul Theroux and I extremely enjoyed his humor and his insight.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Trent
  • 31-07-2012

A great listen for the traveller

What did you love best about The Great Railway Bazaar?

A great travel adventure, written at a time when crossing the globe was a much more challenging experience. Will resonate with anyone who's embarked on a voyage across cultures.

What did you like best about this story?

It reminded me of what I love about freeform travel

What about Frank Muller’s performance did you like?

The narrator was excellent - when the accents seem natural and quietly add to the appreciation of the story, rather than being something that you notice outright, then the narrator has done their job well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jeanne
  • 07-12-2011

Riviting

What did you love best about The Great Railway Bazaar?

I loved Theroux's frank descriptions of what he experienced and how he felt about everything.

What did you like best about this story?

It made me want to take the same trip--or ar at least parts of it.

What about Frank Muller’s performance did you like?

Muller's tempo is just right, alternating appropriately from phrase to phrase and he speaks the various accents convincingly.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aidan O'Reilly
  • 09-06-2020

one of the best

if the character Ishmael from Moby Dick wrote a book about train travel this would be it. Funny, literate, compassionate, wise, honest and wistful. I can't reccomemd it enough.

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  • Rubens
  • 30-12-2019

What a great story!

Very well written. Funny and entretaining. Frank Muller does an amazing job narrating it! Would recommend!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 05-04-2011

I was on the train

The narrator of this story made it all come to life and it felt as though I was on the train travelling alongside and could smell and feel all the pleasures and discomforts afforded to the traveller. I have purchased the second part his return and already it has highlighted how the passing of time along with age makes you value and appreciate different things even after compensating and making allowances for memories being a ghost train and bringing about a sense of melancholy sense of loss.

8 people found this helpful

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  • La Chute
  • 25-11-2019

get on board

superb book, brilliantly read, I laughed out loud and followed the journeys on google earth

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rn Francis
  • 26-08-2015

Classic travel book

Read this years ago in the heyday of my own travelling days.
I was not a massive fan back then, but re-reading/listening I enjoyed it much more this time.

The narrator did a decent job, though made most of the Westerners sound more than a bit grumpy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • oliver
  • 26-03-2014

Not the best audible book

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story itself didn't grab me as his other books have. Paul appears to be bored himself during this journey which comes across, with a sense of apathy.

What will your next listen be?

not sure at this point

Would you be willing to try another one of Frank Muller’s performances?

Maybe

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom

Any additional comments?

n/a

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • paul
  • 26-01-2013

Intensely irritating narration

Sadly the narration of this book ruined it for me , we where introduced to more and more characters as the story progressed their accents never sounded natural.and became intensely irritating

2 people found this helpful

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  • di9girl
  • 05-08-2020

Detailed train journey but sometimes overly graphic

I did enjoy the story mostly, I just didn’t care at all for the overly graphic “adult” descriptions, mostly in chapter 26. Very, very graphic.

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  • nadia
  • 13-05-2020

Uninspiring Story, Terrible Narration

This book has not aged well, and although it may show how pompous American travellers could be in the 70s, it is an altogether uninspiring, dreary tale where the reader is left as drained as the author by its finish.
This in itself is personal taste, however the poor review is fully deserved when the narration is taken into account. Almost every place name is pronounced incorrectly, and the accents he attempts to portray are so poor it's offensive.
This was simply not for me. A disappointing listen.

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  • Julian Hughes
  • 10-03-2020

foreign names still a problem in travel books!

I love this book. I've read it at least twice and expect I may do so again in a few years. It's brilliant! If you've ever travelled huge distances by train you'll recognise so much and appreciate the author's unique tone. If you haven't, but you wonder what it might be like, then get this book! It is a few decades old but if you go far enough you'll find yourself in those same types of carriages and cities and obscure wayside places.
The narration is OK but it has the usual vice of American narrators. He can only properly pronounce well known English language names. You'd think in a continental nation built on immigration that the audio book industry could find a few people who can make a decent attempt at those funny foreign words, especially if they are required to narrate a travel book. But no, not possible. Otherwise he is OK, good pace, intonation, appropriately expressive and so on.

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  • J
  • 18-11-2019

Good story. Did not like the narrator.

Enjoyed the journey of this book but could have done with a better narrator. The voice grated and actually meant I didn't listen as often as I would have as it put me off. A very sardonic delivery gave a strange experience to the book. I had to work hard to get past that. That was a shame.

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  • PASSEY TD
  • 25-04-2017

brilliant

really excellent a classic excellent a classic excellent a classic excellent a classic excellent a classic read it today