0618134247Dark Star Safari: Overland From Cairo To Cape Town by Paul Theroux. Boston. 2003. Houghton Mifflin. 472 pages. Jacket photograph by Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos, Inc. 0618134247. March 2003.

Paul Theroux is a national treasure. Publishers should be offering him huge advances, although I know that they don’t. I would take a trip with him just about anywhere, and what I mean by taking a trip with him is that I would read anything he chooses to write. His travel books are particularly interesting. Theroux understands that travel is struggle, inconvenience, boredom, and hardship, the essential elements of ‘adventure’. Don't pick up any of his travel books if you want to read about local cuisines, ruins, and churches. But if you are up for an adventure with a companion who truly engages creatively with his surroundings and likes to reflect on what he is reading while he is traveling, then Paul Theroux is for you. Consider the opening sentence from DARK STAR SAFARI - ‘All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again. ’ Theroux often avoids doing it the easy way. His observations on the questionable value of paternalistic foreign aid are particularly interesting, and his picture of Africa, while as personal as one can get, feels true on a universal level at the same time. Once again, a thought-provoking and truly enjoyable book from Paul Theroux.


 Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s best travel writers, Paul Theroux takes us on the ultimate journey through the world’s most complex and mysterious continent. In the travel-writing tradition that made Paul Theroux’s reputation, DARK STAR SAFARI is a rich and insightful book whose itinerary is Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town: down the Nile, through Sudan and Ethiopia, to Kenya, Uganda, and ultimately to the tip of South Africa. Going by train, dugout canoe, ‘chicken bus,’ and cattle truck, Theroux passes through some of the most beautiful - and often life-threatening - landscapes on earth. This is travel as discovery and also, in part, a sentimental journey. Almost forty years ago, Theroux first went to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now he stops at his old school, sees former students, revisits his African friends. He finds astonishing, devastating changes wherever he goes. ‘Africa is materially more decrepit than it was when I first knew it,’ he writes, ‘hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you can’t tell the politicians from the witch doctors. Not that Africa is one place. It is an assortment of motley republics and seedy chiefdoms. I got sick, I got stranded, but I was never bored. In fact, my trip was a delight and a revelation. ’ Seeing firsthand what is happening across Africa, Theroux is as obsessively curious and wittily observant as always, and his readers will find themselves on an epic and enlightening journey. DARK STAR SAFARI is one of his bravest and best books.

Theroux Paul 

Born: April 10, 1941

PAUL THEROUX is the internationally acclaimed author of such travel books as THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR, THE OLD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS, SUNRISE WITH SEAMONSTERS, and THE KINGDOM BY THE SEA. His many novels include HOTEL HONOLULU, KOWLOON TONG, MY OTHER LIFE, and MILLROY THE MAGICIAN. His novels SAINT JACK, THE MOSQUITO COAST, and HALF MOON STREET have been made into successful feature films. Theroux resides in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.



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