Paul McFarland, July 8, 2007 (view all comments by Paul McFarland)
Perhaps the best living travel writer. Paul Theroux takes us the length of Africa by all forms of transportation. Moving with and interacting with all whom he meets. I have been to Africa once in the mist of a war long ago and I thought nothing would ever tempt me to return. This book proved me wrong. This is a very honest, a very sad, and a very wonderful book, usually all at the same time. It is more than worth reading.
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by Library Journal Starred,
"No mere tale of travel mishaps....Safari is Swahili for journey, and Theroux's is truly fantastic."
by Publishers Weekly,
"His encounters with the natives, aid workers and occasional tourists make for rollicking entertainment, even as they offer a sobering look at the social and political chaos in which much of Africa finds itself."
by Kirkus Reviews, Starred,
"Engagingly written, sharply observed; another winner from Theroux."
"Readers of Theroux know that on the road he is cranky. This gives his travel books their seasoning. Here he's especially vexed by those he calls 'the agents of virtue': aid workers mostly, white people usually....Next to agents of virtue, he disdains tourists....This disdain is as facile as it is tiresome...."
by New York Times Book Review,
"A genius of the witty insult...Theroux regales us with the humor of ill humor, maintaining a tricky balance of crankiness, curiosity and charm....Dark Star Safari howls with rage at the forgetting that lies beyond neglect, but the real specter haunting this book is old age. The author turns 60 during his trip, and to say he's tetchy about it is a wild understatement....In Dark Star Safari, Theroux reports his first trip into the last leg of life's voyage, and sends back a brooding and apocalyptic report."
"Engagingly written, sharply observed: another winner from Theroux."
In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances.
Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and "a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface" (Rocky Mountain News). In a new postscript, Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.
In his first new travel book in eight years, the endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. He endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances with characteristic crankiness; however, "the more difficult Theroux's travel, the more he seems to enjoy himself "(Columbus Dispatch). Theroux's journey in "Dark Star Safari is in many ways a labor of love: in the 1960s, Theroux worked as a teacher and Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda and Malawi, and his trip back to this beloved continent coincides with his sixtieth birthday. Gauging the current state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and "a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface" "(Rocky Mountain News).
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