The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari by Paul TherouxFollowing the success of the acclaimed Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and The Great Railway Bazaar, The Last Train to Zona Verde is an ode to the last African journey of the worlds most celebrated travel writer.
“Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,” writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey through the continent he knows and loves best. Theroux first came to Africa as a twenty-two-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, and the pull of the vast land never left him. Now he returns, after fifty years on the road, to explore the little-traveled territory of western Africa and to take stock both of the place and of himself.
His odyssey takes him northward from Cape Town, through South Africa and Namibia, then on into Angola, wishing to head farther still until he reaches the end of the line. Journeying alone through the greenest continent, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savanna, Theroux crosses “the Red Line” into a different Africa: “the improvised, slapped-together Africa of tumbled fences and cooking fires, of mud and thatch,” of heat and poverty, and of roadblocks, mobs, and anarchy. After 2,500 arduous miles, he comes to the end of his journey in more ways than one, a decision he chronicles with typically unsparing honesty in a chapter called “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.
92Y/The Paris Review Interview Series: Paul Theroux
The Last Train to Zona Verde, by Paul Theroux - review
P aul Theroux wrote his last great travel book, Dark Star Safari , an account of his overland journey down the eastern edge of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town, in It was a bleakly typical work of an irascible writer obsessed with the grimmer aspects of his destinations and revealed a land that was simply disintegrating, a place of "fungal infections, petty extortion, mocking lepers, dreary bedrooms, bad food, and exploding bowels". Not surprisingly, Theroux has not rushed back to Africa. Indeed, it has taken him a decade to arrange this return, in which he sets off to mirror his original journey with one that instead heads north from Cape Town up the continent's western edge. The purpose is to take a valedictory trip "to the violated Eden of our origins", he says, and to assess just what the 21st century has done to Africa , a land that the author has loved since he was a young peace corps teacher in Malawi.
The Last Train to Zona Verde book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Following the success of the acclaimed Ghost Train to.
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Paul Theroux Discusses Last Train to Zona Verde with Don George (Corte Madera, CA)
Theroux saves the worst for last, a drive through Angola by bus and bush taxi. Restless and reflective in the twilight of a distinguished career, Caputo rents a vintage Airstream trailer, hooks it to a truck and, with his wife and their two English setters, takes off. Along the way he meets refugees from the burst housing bubble living off the grid in Tennessee, post-tornado do-gooders in Tuscaloosa and a Lakota Sioux chef-turned-TV-star in the Dakota Badlands. He also grapples with the challenges of trailer life. Translation: Your room looks like a Dumpster with a window.
Anthony Sattin. Paul Theroux has produced some of the best travel books of the past 50 years, and some of the lamest. So, if this is the last of Theroux as epic traveller, has he gone out with a bang, or another whimper? This time he decided to even things out by travelling in the west, from South Africa to Namibia and Angola. The plan is sketchy to say the least; late on in the book, he does mention the idea of getting up into Mali and ending in Timbuktu, but by then it is clear that he will not.
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