The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean

( 5 )

Overview

"DAZZLING."
--Time
"[THEROUX'S] WORK IS DISTINGUISHED BY A SPLENDID EYE FOR DETAIL AND THE TELLING GESTURE; a storyteller's sense of pacing and gift for granting closure to the most subtle progression of events; and the graceful use of language. . . . We are delighted, along with Theroux, by the politeness of the Turks, amazed by the mountainous highlands in Syria, touched by the gesture of an Albanian waitress who will not let him pay for his modest meal. . . . The Pillars of ...
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Pillars of Hercules

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Overview

"DAZZLING."
--Time
"[THEROUX'S] WORK IS DISTINGUISHED BY A SPLENDID EYE FOR DETAIL AND THE TELLING GESTURE; a storyteller's sense of pacing and gift for granting closure to the most subtle progression of events; and the graceful use of language. . . . We are delighted, along with Theroux, by the politeness of the Turks, amazed by the mountainous highlands in Syria, touched by the gesture of an Albanian waitress who will not let him pay for his modest meal. . . . The Pillars of Hercules [is] engrossing and enlightening from start (a damning account of tourists annoying the apes of Gibraltar) to finish (an utterly captivating visit with Paul Bowles in Tangier, worth the price of the book all by itself)."
--Chicago Tribune
"ENTERTAINING READING . . . WHEN YOU READ THEROUX, YOU'RE TRULY ON A TRIP."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
"HIS PICARESQUE NARRATIVE IS STUDDED WITH SCENES THAT STICK IN THE MIND. He looks at strangers with a novelist's eye, and his portraits are pleasantly tinged with malice."
--The Washington Post Book World
"THEROUX AT HIS BEST . . . An armchair trip with Theroux is sometimes dark, but always a delight."
--Playboy
"AS SATISFYING AS A GLASS OF COOL WINE ON A DUSTY CALABRIAN AFTERNOON . . . With his effortless writing style, observant eye, and take-no-prisoners approach, Theroux is in top form chronicling this 18-month circuit of the Mediterranean."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The author of The Happy Isles of Oceania now offers an exhilarating account of his Mediterranean odyssey. By train, luxury cruise ship, freighter, and ferry, Theroux travels from Gibraltar on a glorious, long, lively, occasionally violent, and endlessly fascinating trip up the coast of Spain, along the Riviera, to Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The difference between a tourist and a traveler, says Theroux, is that the tourist knows where he's going. Theroux (The Great Railway Bazaar), a traveler, as half a dozen of his popular books have attested, had no design for this adventure, no advance ticketing nor any commitment to stay or go anywhere. His only aim was to explore the Mediterranean coast without resort to airplanes. As a result, he found himself in unfamiliar villages on untraveled roads, acquired unexpected companions and slept in an assortment of inns, from fleabags to Hilton hotels, in Gibraltar Spain, the Riviera, Croatia, Sardinia, Greece, Albania, Morocco, the Levant and Israel. His pictures, like those of a wanderer with a sharp eye and an informed intelligence, though a large measure of condescension as well, are fresh even when he lands in well-reported places. Although most of his informants are casually met, now and then he interviews the famous, among them Paul Bowles in Morocco, Naguib Mahfouz in Egypt. This is a Mediterranean coast few know, as exotic and tumultuous now as throughout history. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The pillars of Theroux's (The Happy Isles of Oceania, LJ 5/15/92) latest travel title are at the mouth of the Mediterranean, and he proposes to travel from one to the other the long way, by following the shoreline from Spain to Morocco using rail, ferry, bus, or car. One of the pleasures of his book is the unhurried nature of the trip. If it takes Theroux two years to appreciate the flavor of the Mediterranean, then that's how long it takes. As with his other books, Theroux disdains the tourist destinations (he refers to the Greek islands as theme parks) as well as many other sites that don't strike his persnickety fancy, but the Mediterranean is full of resorts and cultural sites so he often endures these to get to the places he finds worthwhile, like Aliano, Italy, Albania, and war-torn Croatia. Every public library should have a copy of this book; there will be a big demand for it.-Mary Ann Parker, California Dept. of Water Resources Law Lib., Sacramento
Booknews
The acclaimed travel writer explores the cradle of civilization bordering the Mediterranean Sea, traveling by foot, bus, train, ferry, and luxury cruiser to the French Riviera, the islands of Greece, war- torn Croatia, and Egypt, where he meets Nobel laureate Naguib Mahouf recovering from an assassination attempt. He ends his journey in Tangiers, where he hunts down Beat writer Paul Bowles. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Barnes & Noble
The journeys of world-famous travel writer Paul Theroux are the stuff of dreams and adventures. In this book, he probes layers of civilization and culture, accompanying us on a lively, occasionally violent, and endlessly fascinating trip around the shores of the Mediterranean--from Gibraltar, up the coast of Spain and along the Riviera, to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and beyond.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449910856
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 484,643
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    An excellent stroll around the Mediterranean!

    Theroux is an excellent and prolific writer. He is alive in his style with a razor-sharp eye for detail. His description early in the book of the monkeys and tourists on Gibralter is the kind of honest and quirky look at life that delights readers, and he retains that creative view throughout the book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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