Synopses & Reviews
"Theroux is at his best when he tells [people’s] stories, happy and sad . . . Theroux’s great mission had always been to transport us beyond that reading chair, to challenge himself—and thus, to challenge us." — Boston Globe
A decade ago, Paul Theroux’s best-selling Dark Star Safari chronicled his epic overland voyage from Cairo to Cape Town, providing an insider’s look at modern Africa. Now, with The Last Train to Zona Verde, he returns to discover how both he and Africa have changed in the ensuing years.
Traveling alone, Theroux sets out from Cape Town, going north through South Africa, Namibia, then into Angola, encountering a world increasingly removed from tourists’ itineraries and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. After covering nearly 2,500 arduous miles, he cuts short his journey, a decision he chronicles with unsparing honesty in a chapter titled “What Am I Doing Here?” Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, The Last Train to Zona Verde is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers.
"Everything is under scrutiny in Paul Theroux’s latest travel book—not just the people, landscapes and sociopolitical realities of the countries he visits, but his own motivations for going where he goes . . . His readers can only be grateful." — Seattle Times
“If this book is proof, age has not slowed Theroux or encouraged him to rest on his achievements . . . Gutsy, alert to Africa's struggles, its injustices and history.” — San Francisco Chronicle
"A superb collection....This book reproduces the unsettling but rewarding experience of travel, and will remind readers of 'the expanded sense of possibility that strangeness sometimes brings.'" Publishers Weekly
"Iyer is a master of the ironic detail....Goes where most of us will not go and returns with the dire details." Kirkus Reviews
"Calling Iyer a travel writer is reductive, like saying George Plimpton was a sportswriter....Lacking Iyer's opportunities to 'slip through the curtain of the ordinary,' we're truly fortunate to have his dispatches from the other side." Booklist
One of the best travel writers now at work in the English language brings back the sights and sounds from a dozen different frontiers. A cryptic encounter in the perfumed darkness of Bali; a tour of a Bolivian prison, conducted by an enterprising inmate; a nightmarish taxi ride across southern Yemen, where the men with guns may be customs inspectors or revolutionaries-these are just three of the stops on Pico Iyer's latest itinerary.
But the true subject of Sun After Dark is the dislocations of the mind in transit. And so Iyer takes us along to meditate with Leonard Cohen and talk geopolitics with the Dalai Lama. He navigates the Magritte-like landscape of jet lag, "a place that no human had ever been until forty or so years ago." And on every page of this poetic and provocative book, he compels us to redraw our map of the world.
Pico Iyer one of our most compelling and profoundly provocative travel writers invites us to accompany him on an array of exotic explorations, from L.A. and Yemen to Haiti and Ethiopia, from a Bolivian prison to a hidden monastery in Tibet. He goes to Cambodia, where the main tourist attraction is a collection of skulls from the Khmer Rouge killing fields, and travels through southern Arabia in the weeks before September 11, 2001. He practices meditation with Leonard Cohen and discusses geopolitics with the Dalai Lama, travels to Easter Island and through the imaginative terrains of W. G. Sebald and Kazuo Ishiguro, weaving physical and psychological challenges together into a seamless narrative.
Throughout his travels, the familiar thrill of adventure is haunted by the unsettling questions that arise for Iyer everywhere he goes: How do we reconcile suffering with the sunlight often found around it? How does the foreign instruct the traveler, precisely by discomfiting him? And how does travel take us more deeply into reality, both within us and without? Intensely affecting, Iyer's explorations are a road map of thinking in new ways about our changing world.
The worlds most acclaimed travel writer journeys through western Africa from Cape Town to the Congo.
About the Author
PAUL THEROUX's highly acclaimed novels include Blinding Light, Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast. His travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.