Friday, August 10, 2012

Books: The Great Railway Bazaar

A journey from London to Moscow. It sounds so simple especially as there are direct flights available. Now imagine, a journey that starts in London and ends in Moscow while traveling through Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Japan and finally Russia. That is a lot of connecting flights. Now imagine, the medium of journey is not planes but trains. Are they are any direct trains which touches all these destination? I don't think so. Now imagine, the time to early 1970s. I guess I have your attention now.

Paul Theroux undertakes such a journey in the 1970s and narrates the experience using this book. When he starts the journey, he is sure the various trains are more than the mystery novels and thrilling spy movies depicts. He meets various people in the course of the journey that spans several months which also gives insight to the local culture, and in many a way stereotypes. But what stands out in the book is the emotions everyone experiences in their travels. One is filled with enthusiasm at the beginning which is followed by boredom and occasional surprises. Towards the end of the journey, everyone is gripped with restlessness and homesickness which tilts the balance. This is evident from the writing. The route chosen by the authors has a major factor behind the feelings the author goes through. On top of all this, Paul successfully captures the romance of a train journey.

If you love journey by train, then this is a must read for you. If you are a sceptic and even dislike train journey, then I recommend this to you as you will be introduced to a new world. While reading the book, keep in mind Paul has written a sequel to the book wherein he retraces the path. It too sounds like an interesting read though I will pick it up only when this book has sunk on me.

Tags: Books,Paul Theroux,Train



8 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book, Nona. And I love train journeys. :-)

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    1. Then this is a must read for you. :)

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  2. Trains journeys are always fascinating, especially when crossing so many countries. I love train journeys.

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    Replies
    1. Then you will enjoy this book. :)

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  3. Do you know there used to be a direct train between London and Moscow? What fun it must be travelling across Europe

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  4. Sounds fun coz I really love train journeys and I have heard a lot about this fellow. Maybe this book is the way to get started with his works!
    A wonderful review.

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