Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through Chinaby Paul Theroux
- LendMe LendMe™ Learn More
Paul Theroux, the author of the train travel classics The Great Railway Bazaar and The Old Patagonian Express, takes to the rails once again in this account of his epic journey through China. He hops aboard as part of a tour group in London and sets out for China's border. He then spends a year traversing the country, where he pieces together a fascinating snapshot of a unique moment in history. From the barren deserts of Xinjiang to the ice forests of Manchuria, from the dense metropolises of Shanghai, Beijing, and Canton to the dry hills of Tibet, Theroux offers an unforgettable portrait of a magnificent land and an extraordinary people.
"[A] very funny, beautifully written, wonderfully observant, and deeply insightful description of the vagaries of life and politics in China."Conde Nast Traveler
"Fascinating...the portrait that emerges is a luminous, almost uncanny, and situationally accurate one. Theroux is particularly good at catching the surreal quality of China." The Miami Herald
"Theroux's genius is in his clear-eyed rendition of a fresh world and the deeper observations he attaches to it." The Chicago Tribune
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- NOOK Book
- Sales rank:
- File size:
- 1 MB
Meet the Author
PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari. He lives in Hawaii and Cape Cod.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
Finishing this book turned out to be a suprisingly difficult chore. While the writing is solid, Theroux takes on a superior attitude towards the people of China which wears thin half way through the book. He even goes to the point of scolding people for eating birds, a thing they've done for centuries. It is impressive that he took the time to learn the language, but too often uses it to tell people that they are doing something 'wrong'. There is a lot of beauty in China that Theroux overlooked (or missed) in regards to culture, history, people, and places. He spends too much time discussing the results of the Cultural Revolution. In several instances he talks to former red guards seemingly attempting to coerce a confession that they were stupid for participating. The train journeys were not described in detail. Mostly it was a description of where the ride began, ended, and descriptions of cabin mates and meals. Theroux is a great writer, but this is one of this lesser titles.
There is too much politics in it. Didn't like the spitting customs in details. About the only good parts were all those 'ha-ha'-s.
Totally engaging, witty, insightful with a history lesson of the cultural revolution. Ends with a pilgrimage to Tibet. I've read all of Theroux's travel books. He has taken travel writing to a new level and this one rules.