The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013 - Travel - 353 pages
77 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
The ending was rather ponderous and uninspiring. - Goodreads
Great insight into life and travel in Africa. - Goodreads
And at an aging travel writer. - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Marc - Goodreads

When asked by Angolan students if he brought copies of his books, Theroux frequently blusters "Ask your billionaires!!!"; The Last Train reads like the last foray of an aging, weary travel writer that realizes he'll never outgrow his own privilege Read full review

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

User Review  - Rose - Goodreads

Although this book stands alone, I highly recommend reading "Dark Star Safari" first. This book is a perfect example of the best kind of travel book: Mr. Theroux shows you the history as well as the ... Read full review

All 2 reviews »


1 Among the Unreal People
2 The Train from Khayelitsha
The Spirit of the Cape
4 The Night Bus to Windhoek
5 Night Train from Swakopmund
6 The Bush Track to Tsumkwe
7 Ceremony at the Crossroads
8 Among the Real People
12 Three Pieces of Chicken
13 Volunteering in Lubango
14 The Slave Yards of Benguela
The Improvised City
16 This Is What the World Will Look Like When It Ends
17 What Am I Doing Here?
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The Ultimate Safari
10 The Hungry Herds at Etosha
11 The Frontier of Bad Karma

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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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