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
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.
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.
Say something about yourself!
One of the best, top ten out of about 300 that I have tried
I have spent much of my life travelling around the world much of it solo. This books captures the experience and characters of a journey in detail. Paul's interactions and ability to portray the people you meet is brilliant. I love train travel and find this book almost like being on a journey.
Frank is a great narrator, I enjoy the way he acts the parts
No. It is relaxing rather than compelling, like the journey itself, not to be rushed. You don't want to flick to the end any more than you should want to get to your destination on a good journey. It is a train not a Ryan Air trip.
I was intrigued by the other reviews. Just goes to show, we are all different.
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.
not sure at this point
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
"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.
"A great listen for the traveller"
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.
It reminded me of what I love about freeform travel
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.
I loved Theroux's frank descriptions of what he experienced and how he felt about everything.
It made me want to take the same trip--or ar at least parts of it.
Muller's tempo is just right, alternating appropriately from phrase to phrase and he speaks the various accents convincingly.
"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!).
"Peter Sellers Accent- Such a put off"
I had read this book when i was in school, which was a long long time ago. Railways has always been a fascination and it was delightful at that time to read about other countries ( i am from India ) and their Railways. I have recently started on Audible and wanted to listen to this book. The book started off alright in London and then rapidly moved through Turkey, Afghanistan, India with a grating Peter Seller's from the movie Party accent for every single non white person in the book. I really wish the book had been read with one non descript accent rather than this cacophony of made up accents. Seems like a burra sahib deciding to teach the natives a lesson on how to pronouce something.
"must listen for any Theroux fan"
The GRB is one of the classics in travel books. If you are a railroad buff like me, it is almost "required" listening
Theroux has a way to making the people he meets on the trains into unforgettable characters
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 =)
Umm.. a little too long for that =) Great for a road-trip
I love travel and love travelogues.
This is my first experience with Paul Theroux and I extremely enjoyed his humor and his insight.
"Paul's best work"
This was the book that made Paul famous. It isn't as long as the newer Ghost Train To The Eastern Star, which is also a revisit of this classic Paul Theroux. The description evoke vivid imagery throughout the fast paced trip. The narrator, however was a bit too fast paced. I would have been happier had he slowed down long enough for me to digest Paul's descriptive writing. I have taken the trains in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Sri Lanka. All are as dilapidated as Paul says they are, but they are cheap, slow and comfortable. A few of the Chinese trains are very sleek and clean now. The characters are what made these train books so great. I have to wonder if some of them aren't fictional. I met a few interesting people on the trains, but it was mostly traveling salesmen in China. I can speak fairly well, so interacting with the locals is what the train adventure is all about.
"How not to be a tourist while traveling"
First, Frank Muller is my favorite narrator. Paul Theroux is a gifted author who writing in the general "travel" genre does not bore us with the silly and expected details of long waits in line that are the norm of travel. He does not bore us with the grandeur of the taj mahal, but instead focuses on the people along the way which opens the culture to us. What a gift.
The way that the author engaged the people wherever he went opening for us his take on the way people think and why.
Probably the rail travel through SE Asia.
I don't think it would work.
The late Frank Muller is my absolute favorite reader but even he couldn't help make this story interesting. It was very slow and boring.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.