The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas

Overview


Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux winds up on the poky, wandering Old Patagonian Express steam engine, which comes to a halt in a desolate land of cracked hills and thorn bushes. But with Theroux the view along the way is what matters: the monologuing Mr. Thornberry in Costa Rica, the bogus priest of Cali, and the blind Jorge Luis Borges, who delights in having Theroux read Robert Louis Stevenson...
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Overview


Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux winds up on the poky, wandering Old Patagonian Express steam engine, which comes to a halt in a desolate land of cracked hills and thorn bushes. But with Theroux the view along the way is what matters: the monologuing Mr. Thornberry in Costa Rica, the bogus priest of Cali, and the blind Jorge Luis Borges, who delights in having Theroux read Robert Louis Stevenson to him.

Starting with a rush-hour subway ride to South Station in Boston to catch Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Theroux takes readers on a train journey from New England to Patagonia in southernmost Argentina.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395521052
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/28/1989
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 760,258
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Theroux

PAUL THEROUX's highly acclaimed novels include Blinding Light, Hotel Honolulu, My Other Life, Kowloon Tong, and The Mosquito Coast. His travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Dark Star Safari, Riding the Iron Rooster, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, and The Happy Isles of Oceania. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    A travel gem.

    Theroux takes trains almost the entire distance from Boston to Argentina. The OPE chronicles this grueling, difficult journey. I have traveled to a few countries in Latin America before. Theroux exquisitely captures the essence of the continent. He successfully juxtaposes the majestic with the squalor. Theroux brilliantly weaves in descriptions of colorful, memorable characters. For example, the rambling Mr. Thornberry, or the American diplomat, Dudley Symes. This book is memorable with interesting and timeless descriptions, that stick with you forever. I loved the part about Bogota being a 'cruel and towering place, a place once inhabited by eagles, but now populated by vultures and their dying prey.' Or parts of Latin America being governed by an 'anarchy of sex and hunger.' He captures vivid events in time. The soccer game in El Salvador which he compares to a 'classic vision of hell' with 'infernal' imagery. He describes his disappointment with his inability to enter Somoza's Nicaragua. He had heard that Nicaragua was 'savagely governed,' with a 'murderous landscape.' But he was denied to observe it for himself. At times Theroux can go overboard with the language, like some other authors, leaving an impression of 'enough already.' However Theroux's literary gifts are outstanding and undeniable. I believe Paul Theroux is one of America's most overlooked gifted authors, casting the everyday in a fresh, fun, new way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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