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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to…
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Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown (2002)

by Paul Theroux

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,450415,214 (3.92)49
  1. 10
    The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari by Paul Theroux (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin (bergs47)
  3. 00
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Travels in South Africa by Gavin Bell (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On the Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    The Blue Nile by Alan Moorehead (John_Vaughan)
  6. 00
    Journey Without Maps by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Both authors felt deeply about Africa and Greene wrote several works on this theme of inner and actual African travel. Paul returns to his Peace Corp teaching post but the books reveals his disillusionment.
  7. 00
    More Great Railway Journeys by Benedict Allen (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Chapt 2 for more on Africa - Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown. Paul Theoux
  8. 00
    A Tourist in Africa by Evelyn Waugh (John_Vaughan)
  9. 00
    Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (lauranav)
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» See also 49 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Much like The Kingdom by the Sea, I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual travelouge of an overland trip from Cairo to Cape Town. I like the random twists and turns that the trip takes and his reflections on what has changed in Africa since he lived there in the Peace Corps in the 60's. Aid workers and Safari enthusiats come in for most of his scorn and the ones he meets completely deserve it. More in my series of "I'm reading something I like!".
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
Theroux goes off the deep end a few times with this in his callous name-calling of anyone who doesn't conform to his worldview. I still like and appreciate him quite a bit, but am I detecting a touch of senility in his writing? Once is fine, twice okay, three times bearable, but his harping on themes like the NGOs and their white SUVs or the big game tourists was a bit over the top. Futile and senile perhaps. Obviously though, I still liked the book. ( )
  untraveller | May 15, 2014 |
He writes well but he comes across as an unpleasant, self-righteous old man, the type of man I don't like to meet when I travel. It's interesting that he was so critical of the tourists that go to Africa to see wildlife and have the butler prepare them a bath in a luxury resort, and at the end he does the same, travelling in a luxury train with a butler and staying at a very expensive game resort. I suppose he thought he deserved it and the others didn't. The whole trip looked to me like a late mid-life crisis. I particularly disliked the way he commented on young women (there's no fool like an old fool...) and I found what he said about women's behavior in game reserves absolute sexist nonsense. I was looking forward to reach the end of the book to hear his views on Mozambique and South Africa but that was also a disappointment. I give it 3 stars for the writing, which I enjoyed but I think is wasted in such a person. ( )
  Estrela | Jun 27, 2013 |
I enjoyed this book even though it was an irritatingly prejudiced view of Africa, a snapshot in time reflecting Theroux's experience 40 years ago and again recently. He'd already made up his mind about Africa and its peoples before his safari, and the limited view his travels offered confirmed his preconceived ideas. His superficial and uninformed take on South Africa gave me similar regard (or disregard) for his opinions on the rest of the continent.

I listened to the audiobook (shouldn't have). The reader's voice was dreary and pessimistic, his pronunciations of place names were inaccurate, he used the same obscure, unrecognizable accent for all black people whether Somalians or Zimbabweans, and all white people sounded Scottish, except the boere whom he portrayed as cretins (presumably reflecting his opinion). He clearly took the stance of the author. Ah well...... ( )
  vlermeisie | Jun 3, 2013 |
so i've also read the old patagonian express and in sir vidia's shadow, both by paul theroux. and yet, i just keep coming back for more, as if the next one will be better. it's time to tell myself to snap out of it, because my goodness. what a curmudgeon!

to be fair, i liked this one slightly better than either of the others. he's still self-centered - this is much more a book about him traveling, than it is about where he's traveling - but the observations that he does make are keen. i don't agree with him on lots of points (aid workers in africa, for one), but his arguments are well-reasoned. i haven't been to africa myself; i don't have his more layered perspective. we'll just leave it at that.

( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Theroux is often dour, although he finds hopeful signs that Africa will endure and overcome its present misfortunes in the sight, for instance, of a young African boatman doing complex mathematical equations amid “spitting jets of steam,” and in the constant, calming beauty of so many African places. Engagingly written, sharply observed: another winner from Theroux.
added by John_Vaughan | editKirkus (Jul 21, 2011)
 
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Epigraph
Large-leaved and many-footed shadowing,

What god rules over Africa, what shape

What avuncular cloud-man beamier than spears?

   Wallace Stevens, ‘The Greenest Continent’
Dedication
For my mother, Anne Dittami Theroux,

on her ninety-first birthday
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All news out of Africa is bad.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Al het nieuws over Afrika, stelde Paul Theroux vast, is tegenwoordig slecht nieuws. Het enige dat we over de Afrikaanse landen horen, heeft te maken met hongersnood, massamoorden en natuurrampen Theroux had betere herinneringen aan het Afrikaanse continent. Hij dacht aan de vele gevaren, de liefelijkheid, de humor, de schoonheid van de natuur, en besloot per trein een reis te maken door het 'groenste deel van de wereld', waar hij veertig jaar geleden met veel plezier gewoond, gewerkt en rondgetrokken had. Hij was ervan overtuigd dat zijn nieuwe reis weer even plezierig zou worden. Maar Theroux vergiste zich. Hij werd beroofd, beschoten en beschimpt. De wegen waren een verschrikking, de treinen bevonden zich in een vreselijke slechte toestand en een infrastructuur bestond nauwelijks. Afrika leek in veertig jaar alleen maar bergafwaarts gegaan. De mensen waren hongeriger, armer, slechter opgeleid, pessimistischer en corrupter, en de politici onderscheidden zich niet langer van medicijnmannen. Theroux werd ziek en kon vaak niet verder reizen. Toch verveelde hij zich geen moment. Integendeel: zijn verblijf in Afrika werd een openbaring. De reis van Cairo naar Kaapstad bleek een nieuw reisboek dubbel en dwars waard te zijn.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618446877, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:33 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The author recounts his odyssey down the length of Africa, from Cairo to South Africa, describing the bad food, many delays, discomforts, and dangers of his trip, along with the people and places of the real Africa.

» see all 5 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140281118, 0141037296

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