Paul Theroux’s Ghost Train

August 17th, 2009

In the early 1970s, a young author named Paul Theroux embarked on an adventurous voyage. After rambling across much of Asia and Russia via local trains, Theroux penned a book about his travels, The Great Railway Bazaar. It assured Theroux's literary reputation and cemented his commercial appeal.

The bestselling book set a new standard in travel writing, an antidote to mass consumption of newly cheap, anonymous airline travel.  Now a grand old man with over 40 books to his credit, Theroux resolved to revisit the path he followed in that first groundbreaking book. Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar isn't an exact replication (Theroux skips Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran this time around.)

My conversation with Paul Theroux: