Riding the Iron Rooster


Riding the Iron Rooster (By Train Through China) Author Paul Theroux / Ivy Books published by Ballantine Books / Copyright 1988 / Paperback , 451 Pages

I cannot recall where I found this book, but after reading it, I went in search of Paul Theroux’ other books. I found two more titles on paperback and I just downloaded one in digital format. When I find another, I’m sure I will get that too. I admit I have since measured other travel writers by them.

These are no tourist guide travelogues, mind you. These are journeys of a man, this man, with his very particular point of view and biases. He carries a lot of baggage, you can tell, but what kept me reading was his willingness to expose himself to the reader while depicting the scene playing in front his eyes.

This was his journey and you come along because it always promises to be a fascinating one. Once you get into the book, it becomes hard to look away.

He often hides himself from his travel companions but he does not shy away from revealing so much of himself to the reader through raw dialogues and narratives, instead of the dragging introspective ruminating that is so common in most travel writings I have seen. His books read like novels, and the author is another character in the unraveling story.

These books are full of interesting people as well as places, past as well as present, backroom messes as well as posed window displays. Even a sophisticated jet-setter who has seen so much of the world will still get a lot from reading his books because readers may yet discover another way to travel and to look at a place, another way to get to know a place, another way of seeing.

These books are truly a door to another world. They are an experience, a wondrous and exhilarating travel experience between lines and pages. I humbly suggest that whenever you find opportunities to have such an experience, please go ahead and take it.


Other Paul Theroux Titles in our library:

The Kingdom by the Sea (A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain), Published in Penguin Books / Copyright 1983 / Paperback, 361 Pages

The Pillars of Hercules (A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean), Published by Ballantine Books, Copyright 1995 / Paperback, 509 Pages



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