The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013 - Travel - 353 pages
128 Reviews
Following 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 world's 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.
  

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I love Paul Theroux's writing. - Goodreads
Enjoyed Theroux's insights into present day Africa. - Goodreads
His other travel writing has been better. - Goodreads
Something has happened to Mr. Theroux's writing. - Goodreads
And at an aging travel writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari

User Review  - Katy - Goodreads

I don't know if it's a function of his age or something else -- reality? -- but Paul Theroux seems even more pessimistic and critical than in the predecessor to this book, Dark Star Safari. In that ... Read full review

Review: The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari

User Review  - Chad - Goodreads

Theroux is such a cynic about Africa, but he's a beautiful, engaging writer. He makes you cringe at the squalor of the shanty towns of Angola and yet still want to travel to that part of the world ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »

Contents

1 Among the Unreal People
1
2 The Train from Khayelitsha
14
The Spirit of the Cape
40
4 The Night Bus to Windhoek
59
5 Night Train from Swakopmund
79
6 The Bush Track to Tsumkwe
102
7 Ceremony at the Crossroads
118
8 Among the Real People
134
12 Three Pieces of Chicken
222
13 Volunteering in Lubango
242
14 The Slave Yards of Benguela
268
The Improvised City
297
16 This Is What the World Will Look Like When It Ends
320
17 What Am I Doing Here?
333
Back Flap
355
Back Cover
356

The Ultimate Safari
160
10 The Hungry Herds at Etosha
180
11 The Frontier of Bad Karma
200
Spine
357
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Paul Edward Theroux was born on April 10, 1941 in Medford, Massachusetts and is an acclaimed travel writer. After attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst he joined the Peace Corps and taught in Malawi from 1963 to 1965. He also taught in Uganda at Makerere University and in Singapore at the University of Singapore. Although Theroux has also written travel books in general and about various modes of transport, his name is synonymous with the literature of train travel. Theroux's 1975 best-seller, The Great Railway Bazaar, takes the reader through Asia, while his second book about train travel, The Old Patagonian Express (1979), describes his trip from Boston to the tip of South America. His third contribution to the railway travel genre, Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China, won the Thomas Cook Prize for best literary travel book in 1989. His literary output also includes novels, books for children, short stories, articles, and poetry. His novels include Picture Palace (1978), which won the Whitbread Award and The Mosquito Coast (1981), which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Theroux is a fellow of both the British Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographic Society. His title Lower River made The New York Times Best Seller List for 2012.

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