For all Theroux travel writing fans and particularly the legions of lovers of Dark Star Safari and Eastern Star.
Acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux resumes the African trip recounted in his brilliant Dark Star Safari, from Cairo to Capetown down the right-hand of Africa. For ten years he longed to return Capetown, and travel up the the left-hand side to Congo. After 50 years of travel and past retirement age, this is the last trip of this kind the author will take, and this is the story his fans have been waiting for.
The dean of travel writers recoils from southern Africa s heart of darkness in this disillusioned, heartsick travelogue. Theroux (The Great Railway Bazaar; etc.) recounts his back-roads trip from Cape Town to Angola, a valedictory for happier African sojourns. There are fascinating vignettes of a fallen Eden: hunter-gatherer folkways of San Bushmen enchant him with their primeval authenticity until he realizes they are just pantomimes for tourists; at a luxury safari camp an elephant takes its revenge for exploitation. But the main action is Theroux s gradual descent into the urban inferno. By bus and crowded cab he gravitates from the relative cleanliness and order of Namibia into Angola, a hell-hole devoid of wildlife, littered with burnt-out tanks, where sleek kleptocrats lord the oil wealth over desperate, grasping beggars. The lowest circle of the unfixable blight of African cities is Luanda, joyless...hot and chaotic, inhospitable and expensive, grotesque and poor, a vibration of doomsday where children s laughter sounds insane and chattering and agonic an amplified death rattle. Theroux s prose is as vividly descriptive and atmospheric as ever and, though a bit curmudgeonly, he s still wide open to raw, painful interactions between his psyche and his surroundings.