The Last Train to Zona Verde: Overland from Cape Town to Angola

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Hamish Hamilton, 2013 - Africa - 353 pages
15 Reviews
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'Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,' writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey though the continent he knows and loves best.

Having travelled down the right-hand side of Africa in Dark Star Safari, he sets out this time from Cape Town, heading northwards in a new direction, up the left-hand side, through South Africa and Namibia, to Botswana, then on into Angola, heading for the Congo, in search of the end of the line. Journeying alone through the greenest continent in what he feels will be his last African journey, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the intineraries of tourists and the hopes of post-colonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savannah, 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.

Counterpointing the brutalized landscapes of Angola, where no wild animals survive and the population is overwhelmingly destitute, with the joyful endurance and resourcefulness of the San People of northeastern Namibia, the author finds an Africa altered for the worse but still capable, in its peoples and its landscapes, of inspiring feelings of happiness and even hope. But finally, after 2500 arduous miles through the bush, Theroux comes to the end of his journey in more ways than one, a decision he chronicles with typical irascible honesty in a chapter called 'What Am I Doing Here?'

A final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers, The Last Train to Zona Verdeis Paul Theroux's ultimate safari.

'Always a terrific teller of tales and conjurer of exotic locales, Theroux writes lean prose that lopes along at a compelling pace.' Sunday Times

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - breic - LibraryThing

Too much self-important meta-narrative, and not enough travel writing. Theroux generally did not enjoy his trip, with the exception of a stay at a luxury safari lodge. There's none of his humor. I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - addunn3 - LibraryThing

A depressing account of South Africa, Namibia, and Angola. Somewhat repetitive, but well worth reading for a interesting prospective on modern Africa. Read full review

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About the author (2013)

Date- 2013-08-06

Paul Theroux was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1941, and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. He wrote his next three novels,Fong and the Indians, Girls at Playand Jungle Lovers, after a five-year stay in Africa. He subsequently taught at the University of Singapore, and during his three years there produced a collection of short stories,Sinning with Annie, and highly praised novel Saint Jack.His other publications include The Black House(1974), a novel; The Great Railway Bazaar- By Train Through Asia (1975), an account of his journey by train from London to Tokyo and back; The Family Arsenal(1976); The Consul's File(1977); Picture Palace(1978; winnner of the Whitread Literary Award); A Christmans Card(1978; The Old Patagonian Express(1979); World's End and Other Stories(1980); London Snow(1980); The Mosquito Coats, which was the Yorkshire PostNovel of the Year for 1981 and the joint winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize;The London Embassy(1982); The Kingdom by the Sea(1983); Doctor Slaughter(1985);Sunrise with Seamonsters(1985); The Imperial Way (1985);O-Zone(1986); Riding the Iron Rooster(1988); My Secret History(1989) and ChicagoLoop

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