Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town

Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town

by Paul Theroux
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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux

In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances. Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful meditation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people, and "a vivid portrayal of the secret sweetness, the hidden vitality, and the long-patient hope that lies just beneath the surface" (Rocky Mountain News). In a new postscript, Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140281118
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 08/28/2003

About the Author

Paul Theroux is the internationally acclaimed author of such travel books as The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express, Sunrise with Seamonsters, and The Kingdom by the Sea. His many novels include Hotel Honolulu, Kowloon Tong, My Other Life, and Millroy the Magician. His novels Saint Jack, The Mosquito Coast, and Half Moon Street have been made into successful feature films. Theroux resides in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Paul Theroux's travel books and found Dark Star Safari his best. But then I always think that when I finish the latest one. But Dark Star is better because it is more personal. An act of rediscovery, going home rather than discovery. And because he visits so many places that are not visited by tourists he does not get to engage in his usual tourist bashing. Although there is much of it, especially in the end when he talks to a young woman on a train about her literal belief in the bible. You almost feel your listening to them as the occupy the seats in front of you on the train. But the major part of the book is a rift on aid workers and the impact (or lack off) on East Africa (let's make note he only visited a portion of the continent) and how people and institutions have changed since he was a teacher in the Peace Corps in the 60s. Always fun, always thought provoking, and always told with the wonderful wry wit that drips with sarcasm this is a wonderful trip to take with Mr. Theroux, and I was sad when it ended. I highly recommend this enjoyable volume.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book provides an excellent, eye opening look at Africa through the lens of the author's long journey from one end of the continent to the other. The conclusions he reaches are somewhat disturbing and depressing, as it seems that much of the continent is in chaos or decay or both. On the other hand, it's an interesting travelogue of an incredible, hands on journey from the north to the south. The author has good journalistic skills, as he shares a number of entertaining and amusing anecdotes about what he sees and who he meets along the way. This book will give readers a fresh and unflinching look at Africa, and will perhaps generate more discussion on this complex subject.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I understand that he taught there in the 60's . And I suppose he felt like he was coming home , but quite frankly I'm amazed he made it back alive. It almost seems like a torture experiment. Anyone who reads this will think twice about traveling to Africa. The dark continent indeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got led to this by The Economists recent report on 'Emerging Africa.'. This is a great place to start understanding how far the continent has come in the last eight years. Ignore Theroux's occasional grumbling and enjoy the journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
www.LindaBallouAuthor.com More than 1 year ago
Dark Star Safari is indeed dark. The deep disappointment felt by the master of travel writing, Paul Theroux, pervades this heartbreakingly honest look at decaying societies.The landscape itself though scarred with dilapidated human settlements remains beautiful in its vast immenseness, but a sense of hopelessness pervades the text. Paul travels overland from appalling dirty and dangerous Cairo to Cape Town where white farmers are being hacked to bits by liberated South Africans who feel the land belongs to them.From taxi's that breakdown in bleak backwaters, to buses that are nothing more than rolling death traps, to trains that are rocking shells of their former selves the modes of transport he takes range from laughable to downright dangerous. The muddy villages along the way are filled with derelict populations who are often "bad people". I think Paul in his quest to unplug and go someplace his fans could not find him forgot the old adage that you can never go back. In his idealistic youth he served in the Peace Corp and taught at a school in Malawi. He feels sadness about the fact that not only have things not gotten better for the African people in the last forty years, they have gotten much worse! Corrupt leaders have milked millions from the generosity of countries trying to help the African people. They do not want real development to take place because children with distended bellies and flies in their eyes engender more sympathy and foster larger handouts than healthy communities.I selected this book because I want to go to Africa to see the gigantic fireball sunsets, the herds of grazing beasts and the last of what can be considered wild, and because Paul Theroux ranks high on my top ten writers list. After reading it I feel silly and insincere because I am not going to see the suffering masses. I will be wearing the tourist kaki with birding glasses slung over my shoulder and be the safari slut Paul finds so insensitive to the plight of the African people. I will sidestep the atrocious slums of Nairobi on my way to the game parks and try like hell not to get killed or robbed in Joburg. Still, I do care and hope that Africa, the birthplace of mankind, will find a way out of the dark abyss of hopelessness and the people will stand tall in the sun once more. www.lindaballouauthor.com
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Theroux and have been greatly influenced by him. I was disappointed in this effort and believe he may simply have passed the age that he is capable of pulling off these grand 6 month journeys through big chunks of the planet. That he EVER was is a great tribute to his indefatigability. He has earned the right to live out his days paddling around Cape Cod or Hawaii or wherever he likes, and enjoying the fruits of his prodigious labors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having experienced 4 years living in Cairo, I found this a fascinating and informative read. In our expat community of Maadi, Cairo we saw and helped hundreds - no, thousands! -of refugees on their journey towards the light. Theroux's descriptions are so exceptional I nearly could feel, touch, taste and smell Africa. I'm looking forward to more hours experiencing traveling through his other books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Everything you would expect from a solid Theroux piece. A must read for fans, and for anyone interested in gleaning a different perspective on the current state and future plight of the continent. Perhaps the best travelogue since Happy Isles of Oceania.