Listen free for 30 days

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Narrated by: John McDonough
Length: 24 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

In Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Paul Theroux retraces the steps he took thirty years ago in his classic The Great Railway Bazaar. From the Eurostar in London, he once again sets out on a journey to the East, travelling overland through Eastern Europe, India and Asia. Infused with the changes that have shaped the exterior landscape and enriched with developments to his own perceptions and psychology, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is an absorbing and beautifully written follow-up to The Great Railway Bazaar.
Click here to see all the titles in our Whole Story Audio Books collection.
©2008 Paul Theroux (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    56
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Transports one to the East magnificently

Brilliant, vivid, nostalgic, alarming - Paul Theroux's re-run of the journey he took 30 years before from London to the East is simply magnificent. He recounts his impressions and adventures with honesty and humour.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

A wonderful travelog, especially to a train lover. Who needs pictures when words are used so comprehensively. Only the smell is missing.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic book with a fantastic narrator

This is one of my favourite books on audible at the moment with only Bill Brysons "A walk in the woods" up there along with it...though I do think this is a higher quality of writing...differnt books but both bring you on a great adventure in different writing styles. I found the narrator very easy to listen to especially when nodding off...often leaving the book on all night joining it at different intervals as i wake up.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Extravaganza of Rail Travel

Written in Paul Theroux's usual lively prose, this is an excellent book that takes the listener (reader) on an exceptional journey from Europe across the Middle East, India and onto the Far Eastern reaches of the world's rail network, returning from Japan to Vladivostok and returning on the Trans Siberian Express. Along the way he meets a colourful array of interesting people, whose lives the author describes in some detail. Paul Theroux is, for good reason, my favourite travel writer, and his books are timeless expeditions, that bring real places and real people to life. Highly recommended to anyone interested in people, places and long distance travel.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly engaging

If you've read and enjoyed Theroux's 'The Great Railway Bazaar', then you'll love his fascinating and insightful retracing of that journey.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

I was looking forward to this book, thinking it may be similar to a Bill Bryson type travel adventure. It definitely was not. This book has virtually no humour and is very hard to listen to as the narrator's voice is incredibly dull.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for roger w patton
  • roger w patton
  • 22-07-09

ghost train to the eastern star

I've always considered Paul Theroux my travel mentor since I hitch hiked half the world at 18. For anyone who has dreamed of revisiting the world they visited more then thirty years ago Ghost Train is a delight. I've read all of Theroux's fiction and non-fiction and this is one of his best non-fiction books. I think Theroux has mellowed a bit. He is not the curmudgeon of Dark Star Safari or other recent non-fiction. I love his observations of people he meets, especially his train companions. The portrait of his Burmese guide and his generosity towards him will always be indelibly etched in my mind. I fantasize that in some far away place I might meet him on a train.(although one should be wary of what he might say about the encounter later in a book) I also appreciated the sense that as one gets older travel is more challenging, but with life's experiences we view the world's people with more compassion and the governments more cynically.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa
  • Lisa
  • 07-02-11

Engrossing but kind of depressing

Good value in the vast distance and many cultures and nations covered, and the many hours of densely packed details he puts in, so if you want to be taken on a very long and detailed journey from Europe to Japan, it's the book to get. By the end though, the overall feeling was a bit depressive and jaded and the impression of nearly all the societies he visited was on the negative side - most of the population he encountered seemed to be either poor, desperate, drunk, grubby, corrupt or willing to do anything for a buck, which of course may well be true but was a fairly humourless theme. And his focus on talking to and about prostitutes wherever he went was starting to tip the balance from general interest to slightly uncomfortable obsession towards the end. Overall, quite engrossing and informative but not very optimistic about that part of the world - which is a pretty big chunk of the world - and I'd have to say ultimately no "feel good" in fact a bit of a "feel bad" experience.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for maida smith
  • maida smith
  • 05-02-13

Great audio adventure

Where does Ghost Train to the Eastern Star rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Pretty High. I have a hard time reviewing the books I do not love.

What did you like best about this story?

The main character had so much understanding of people.

Have you listened to any of John McDonough’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes,,,He is my favorite narrator. I have listened to most of what he has done and I loved Grand and Glorious Physician. The other story of Luke in the Bible. McDonaugh just is the characters to me. I also loved his Mitford Series and could not listen to the prequeal because it was not him.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think his time in Viet Nam was amazing.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for victoria
  • victoria
  • 14-08-11

Not that great

Largely a fan of Mr. Theroux and his style of writing but after 20 hours I had to stop. The book began well and even advanced well but became long and laborious - toward the end seemingly sex trade orientated. Even my husband who listens haphazardly as he's in and out of the room said "wow, that book tanked."

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Robert
  • Robert
  • 29-05-17

Not the Great Railway Bazaar

Disappointed. Author was melancholic throughout and seemed to move from one episode of dull ranting to another. If you are expecting an impressive sequel to the Great Railway Bazaar, skip and look elsewhere.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Noam
  • Noam
  • 11-04-14

A great follow up to the first

I thoroughly enjoyed The Great Railway Bazaar, and so I decided to take this one on too.
I was afraid that this wouldn't live up, but it really did.
Paul's writing is excellent, and he's still an avid traveler; the fact that he had to change course from the original route made it all the more interesting as he was able to reach new places that he hadn't before.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Inez
  • Inez
  • 22-10-19

DO YOU LIKE IT MILD, HOT OR COLD?

As usual, I loved the book and already plan on listening to it a second time. From mild England and Europe all the way to
hot Sir Linka and north through cold Japan and across frozen Siberia. What could be better than sitting in your easy chair in a comfortable room at home and enjoying a Paul Theroux adventure?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Linda Eskin
  • Linda Eskin
  • 02-09-19

An education, cleverly disguised as an adventure

First, this is a sequel, of sorts. It can stand on it's own, but I recommend that you first listen to his earlier book, "The Great Railway Bazaar." Both are excellent. Mellow, vivid, honest, human... You will feel as though you've seen these places and met the people. Along the way Theroux discusses the geography, culture, history, and politics of the places he's traveling through. (If those subjects were taught through such engaging narrative in school I might have remembered some of them.)

I'll definitely be listening to both again soon, and some of his other books as well.

A practical tip: Listen while you are doing mindless tasks (folding laundry, doing dishes, pulling weeds, recovering from a cold, ...). You will find yourself visualizing the scenes described, and it's easy to ignore what's going on around you. I'm about to head off on a scenic road trip and will *not* be listening to these on the way.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 13-02-17

Extraordinary writing; superb narration

Theroux retraces (to the extent he was able) the journey he made three decades earlier in the Great Railway Bazaar. I travel a lot and read a lot of travel books. This is one of the best travel books I have ever read (including Theroux's other travel books, of which I'm a big fan). Mature, poignant, unflinchingly observation of "countries with their pants down" and the human condition in this too hot, overcrowded and economically unequal world. Even after 20 hours + narration I didn't want it to end. McDonough's superb narration is a perfect fit.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alison
  • Alison
  • 20-10-16

A more mature Theroux retraces his earlier journey

I am a Theroux fan so was predisposed to like this book anyway. But it was especially good because he was retracing journey he described in The Great Railway Bazaar. The journey had changed and so had the man himself.