The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean
In this modern version of the Grand Tour, Theroux sets off from Gibraltar, one of the fabled Pillars of Hercules, on a glorious journey around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a long, lively, occasionally dangerous, and endlessly fascinating trip, up the coast of Spain, along the Riviera, by ferry to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and beyond - way beyond.
By foot, train, bus, and cruise ship, Theroux travels around Italy and the Greek islands, to Albania in a state of near anarchy and to war-torn Croatia. He sails across an old sea of myths into Istanbul, its minarets, mosque domes, and obelisks beckoning him to the Levant. After hearing of Theroux's onward itinerary, a Turkish shipmate murmurs, "Gechmis olsen!" - May it be behind you! Ahead are Damascus and the remote villages of Syria, shrouded in the cult of Assad and his martyred son; Israel, besieged by suicide bombers; Egypt, where Theroux visits with Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, recovering from an assassination attempt. And past the hill that marks the southern Pillar of Hercules lie Morocco and Paul Bowles' Tangier.
Exploring coastlines as wild as anything he encountered in China or Peru, probing through layers of tradition and culture, ancient and modern, tawdry and splendid, Theroux recalls the words of his predecessors - Homer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Evelyn Waugh, Carlo Levi, Lawrence Durrell - and weaves the legends and siren calls of civilizations as old as time into a tantalizing story about life on the Mediterranean today.
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Review: The Pillars of HerculesUser Review - Ashley - Goodreads
I've liked Paul Theroux's travel writing since I was in college, when I read Kingdom by the Sea, his account of traveling around England by foot. I love that he's grumpy, opinionated, straightforward ... Read full review
Review: The Pillars of HerculesUser Review - Alois Wittwer - Goodreads
Just... the bestest. I want to write like this. Such personality and it's all so effortless. No direction but so full of vignettes. My kind of writing, no time for narrative, just people being people and a grumpy, charming, horrible, lovely person piecing it all together. Read full review
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