©2007 Paul Theroux; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
When I first heard the old patagonian express I was hooked. Theroux's books are like the trains he travels on. They are not always fast but they are memorable The Great Railway Bazar is his first book and well worth listening to. Added to that Frank Muller reads it. I am slowly collecting all the audiobooks I can get with Frank Muller narrating. This is certainly one I will treasure.
"Viewing the World from a Railway Carriage"
I have never read a Paul Theroux travel book before. And this first encounter proved to be most entertaining! The author takes us on a remarkable journey from London, quickly through Europe and then at a much more leisurely pace through a wonderful Asian experience - many countries, many sights, many sounds....and many unforgettable characters. Theroux's descriptions of the trains he travelled, the visual images he conjures up in the mind of the reader and the verbal exchanges with locals are truly delightful and mesmerizing. Each chapter is a listening joy.
One highlight included Theroux's fascinating descriptions of a Vietnam in its last stages of a long and bloody war, complete with vivid descriptions some beautiful countryside contrasted with a people exhausted from battle and struggling to survive. Another memorable read was Chapter 7's most humorous depiction of Lahore, Pakistan - here Theroux demonstrates an almost perfect sense of timing in his storytelling - just like the very best comedians!
This is classy writing. Funny, witty and packed with emotional impact as the author interacts with every new stranger he meets. But, just as importantly, the narrator - Frank Muller - is absolutely superb! Reproducing with seeming ease the many local accents in the dialogue, Muller brings to life the stories in this wonderful book.
Yes, this was my first Paul Theroux book. But it won't be my last.
"Kudos for Theroux, slaps for Recorded Books"
Yes, this book is splendid. It is the armchair traveler's erudite companion and the nostalgic traveler's remembrance of an Asia that exists no more. It is the book every contemporary blogger and travel writer aspires to write.
My one complaint is this: The reader clearly made not even the slightest attempt at proper Turkish pronunciation and thus mangled nearly every place name in the first quarter of the book. Did the reader and the editors feel confident that Turkish is such a remote and exotic language that no one would notice? If so, they exhibit a sort of provincialism and intellectual laziness that Paul Theroux would most certainly spit upon. It would have required minimal effort to do the job properly.
"Another gift from Frank Muller to us"
This is the only Paul Theroux book I have listened to, but when Frank Muller is reading, I am listening enthusiastically. My only complaint is that I believe the producers were hurrying him. The trip itself is full of surprises, and is the best in armchair travel that I have come upon in years. Frank can make me listen to almost anything, but this book did not come as a surprise. Mr. Theroux is delightfully observant and human, and his voice carries us through several continents without losing interest.
The story starts out very good with lots of details but about halfway through the author speeds up and the story goes south. Author writes well and I could see and experience the places.
"I can't imagine a better narration..."
Yes. I felt like a fly on the wall of a train traveling across the globe
The conversations on the Trans-Siberian
The author and his sometimes sardonic perspective
I'd leave that to the author
I howled at the jumbling of language and the narrator's depictions. If you have a long car ride and want to tune out the landscape.... or... start thinking about the landscape as the author of this book does, you'll arrive at your destination refreshed and thinking about what it would be like to fill his shoes for weeks to come.
"My First Theroux Book"
I really enjoyed the way the reader read this book
Roughin' It by Mark Twain only because it is written in a simalar style
I can never be to close to that Iron rail.
This book inspired me to read more Theroux.
"A Strange Journey"
I play this book for about 30 minutes as I fall asleep every night - and it is great for that. The plot is easy to follow: just get onboard and ride, meeting incredibly interesting people along the way. This is NOT a Traditional Travellog, but an engagement with the bizzare people and cultures around the globe. The performance is a bit more cynical that I would like, but often fits the scene.
"Oh the World Bazaar"
Oh I had forgotten just how wonderful this book is, with its quirky mix of candid observations of both people and places. I went to Iran about 5 years before Theroux and experienced the hippie trail not from the inside but as a student of architecture. This book is bound up in that time and place.
Frank Muller (the narrator) is as great as ever, keeping it fast paced and ascerbic.
Great descriptions of the people and places Mr. Theroux visited on his Great Railway Bazaar. I could almost smell the foods and drink along the way. I only wish I had kept a map on hand to trace his stops. My only negative comment was that we could have spent less time in India....
"Good, if shaggy-dog like story + GREAT reader"
Thirty-five years ago when it was written Theroux's Asian journey must have seemed particularly exotic. It's much less so now--Indians are no longer just dirty and corrupt, the Japanese are no longer so inscrutable. Theroux is refreshingly open about some of his cranky reactions to what he encounters, and no characters come in for harsher treatment than the boorish Americans he finds. With a little break I'll crack the followup book in which he retraces his steps.
Special kudos to the narrator Frank Muller: great accents, great timing!
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