He was fearless in pursuit of – well, who knows what he was in pursuit of, as far as I could tell he just travelled, saw what he saw and recorded it.Over thirty years later he decided to repeat the trip, once again capturing his thoughts and experiences for our enlightenment and entertainment.
He ’ d reached India and from this point I adjusted my mindset to accept that this was not only a very simila experience for the listener it was also a significantly different journey for Theroux: he no longer wished to visit bars and drink the night away at every stop, he was happy to have an early night and read a ook.
This was a man slightly older than me reflecting on change and ageing and on his own life thus far lived.He does, of course, meet interesting people on this trip; from poor travellers he shares a train carriage with, a rickshaw driver he grew close to, and a couple of writers too: science fiction legend Arthur C Clarke, in Sri Lanca, and – one of my personal favourites- Japanese literary scribbler ( and marathon runner) Haruki Murakami in Tokyo.
He is adept at painting pictures with words, often summing up his stopping points simply and succinctly; Saigon, he says, was revitalised, hectic, not beautiful but energetic, a city driven by work and money and young people, a place of opportunities, big and right and loud yet strangely orderly and tidy.
And yes, this ook doesn ’ t have quite the energy and the enthusiasm of the first but it does have an appeal of it own, it ’ s a wry and reflective account that made me think more deeply about the world in which we live and maybe hanker for a rip of discovery of my own.