The Old Patagonian Express (1979) by Paul Theroux

Categories: 1979, Books, and Non-Fiction.

This is Theroux’s second excellent train travel book. In it he travels from Boston to Patagonia, mostly by rail (with the odd flight involved). As usual, he is astute, he is observant and, perhaps above all, honest. One of the engrossing – and I must admit frustrating – things about this book is how honest he is about his feelings. Other writers might have censored themselves when editing, but he lets us know when he dislikes a somewhere or someone. It doesn’t take away from the trip though; rather it humanizes it. We are more in his head as a result. And after reading this I am more determined than ever to drive the Pan-American Highway. Though I cannot say I am well read in the genre, I feel like this and his first train book are absolutely essential for any armchair travelers. Not only do we learn about the world – and train travel – but they urge us to take these trips as well. Reading Theroux I believe I can do this; that I want to do this. A delight.
9/10

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