Dark Star Safari



[EPUB] ✴ Dark Star Safari Author Paul Theroux – E17streets4all.co.uk 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 cour In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus dugout canoe cattle Dark Star Epub / truck armed convoy ferry and train In the course of his epic and enlightening journey he endures danger delay and dismaying circumstancesGauging the state of affairs he talks to Africans aid workers missionaries and tourists What results is an insightful mediation on the history politics and beauty of Africa and its peopleIn a new postscript Theroux recounts the dramatic events of a return to Africa to visit Zimbabwe.Dark Star Safari

Marcel and.

Dark Star Safari eBook ß Dark Star  Epub /
  • Paperback
  • 485 pages
  • Dark Star Safari
  • Paul Theroux
  • English
  • 11 April 2016
  • 9780618446872

10 thoughts on “Dark Star Safari

  1. says:

    Grrrrr Oh how this man irritates yet enthrals meI have just tramped down through Africa in the footsteps of Theroux sighing and tsking yet unable to put the book down This man is a genius writer yet so darn cantankerous curmudgeonly and scathing that he made me want to throw the book on the floor and mash it Even when he relishes a place it often seems that it is the dirt the stink and the sualor that inspires him It's a kind of machismo Proof that he isn't a tourist but a bona fide explorer and travellerYet he does take us where we tender visitors on river cruises and to safari lodges would fear to go He gets under the fingernails of Africa on one heck of a magnificent journey down the spine of this vast continent There were some places I was fascinated to read about like Malawi Zimbabwe South Africa and the wilderness of the Shire River and some I found boring like Egypt or his travels across Lake Victoria But all the time he kept pulling us forward through this often torturous land Time and time again he shows us how subsistence farming and subsistence living have replaced the grandiose stamp of colonial history and he conveys both respect and disgust for these changes He spits vitriolically at the idea of aid to Africa and the culture of dependence that he feels it has created Herewith an extract about his views about charity in Milawi view spoiler The working of society was in the hands of charities running orphanages staffing hospitals doing triage in the pathetic education system They were saving lives you couldn't fault them but in general I despaired at the very sight of aid workers as no than a maintenance crew on a power trip who had turned Malawians into beggers and whiners and development into a study in futility hide spoiler

  2. says:

    WHY do I keep reading books by this man? For some unknown reason I assume that I'll garner some great knowledge form his books or be amused than frustrated Thus far not Instead I'm annoyed by his arrogance and his assumption that he's different from other white people in Africa because he knows that the aide system is faulty or because he lived there in the 60's Just because you have a backpack and a history with Africa doesn't make you an expert and Theroux whining about the fact that Africa hasn't lived up to its promise since he was there last only makes him look like all the people he criticizes He wants Africa to make leaps and bounds in its economic and political policy but then how would he be able to write so endearingly of the street urchins and the poverty? After all seeing those things and writing about them makes him strong and experienced right? I agree that the current Western participation in African affairs is getting Africa nowhere but I don't assume that makes me a genius or that I have my finger on the pulse of African issues If you want to write a book about Africa write about AFRICA and about how cool you are because you can travel there and not have any concern for your safety If you want to write a travel book write a travel book and don't be so bloody sanctimonious Don't travel in crappy cars or eat bad food just so you can prove that you've lived like an African How condescending to assume that Africans don't know anything betterCan anyone tell that this guy annoys me? And yet I'll probably read another of his books because I want to actually feel like he's not as much of a schmuck as I think he is I can admit that the book has some insightful or well written passages but in general I think it's another white person thinking he's got Africa down Shut it I'll bet he took a big bottle of hand sanitizer everywhere he went he just didn't write about that

  3. says:

    Planes trains and automobilesand a ferry; rickety smelly mini buses; a dugout canoe taxis and a cattle truckI give mad props to Theroux for humping it from Cairo to Cape Town at the age of 59 but this type of transport he only used a plane once to fly into Khartoum would scare away the discerning traveler – me This makes me even grateful for Theroux’s firsthand account of AfricaForeshadowing book spoiler He uotes and draws comparisons from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness A lot I like to read the occasional travelogue A good travel writer gives you a window into their adventures combining wit history and insight into the present day doings of the areacountrycontinent they are visiting As to humor Bill Bryson thankfully looks for the punch line Theroux’s humor is of the curmudgeonly sort – here for example pointing out the contradictory nature of the work of missionaries and aid workers He spends pages raking a missionary over the proverbial coals – using his own thorough knowledge of the Bible to continually punch holes in her arguments As much as I love a good verbal pummeling of a hypocrite this was even for me excessiveAfter traveling through several of the poorer countries of Africa and although many aid workers have their hearts in the right place he sees foreign aid rapidly removing all incentive from Africans to do things for themselves The vicious cycle goes like this Country despots skim off significant portions of aid for themselves little of it if any ever reaching the intended who remain poor jobless and hungry thus drawing the need for still aidTheroux’s book isn’t a total festival of misanthropy He visits old friends he was in the Peace Corp makes new friends hangs out with hookers and generally appreciates the pace beauty and “otherness” that is AfricaSo far the Theroux travel books have been engaging enough to want to continue reading them – a decent mix of humor history and bumpy ridesTheroux’s Bottom line African cities are a mess; the true generous and open spirit of the African people still exists in the villagesAnd here’s the reuisite wacky movie see above gif Is that a Nubian Banana or are you just happy to wake up next to me? see my updates below if you really reuire an explanation

  4. says:

    This was my first Theroux and on finishing it I couldn’t fully judge of the tone of a book that was written near what will likely be the end of his career after a certain cynicism has taken root Since then I’ve read The Great Railway Bazaar his first travel book and now a good chunk of Ghost TrainFirst it has to be said that this book is very NOT PC to say the least Theroux has what often appears to be an open and unapologetic contempt for many of the black Africans he meets and describes certainly a contempt for what they’ve made of themselves and of their societies There is a contempt for the entire AfricanThirdWorld AID industry whose representatives he sneeringly refers to as ‘agents of virtue’ those smug insulated liberal do gooders riding about in their large white Land Rovers hanging around the fancy swimming pools of the luxury hotels never mingling with the people they claim to help not even willing to lend a hand to a stranded white man in need of a ride spending wads of OPM Other People’s Money not simply in ways that are unhelpful but in ways Theroux believes that are positively harmful He cites books like The Lords of Poverty and The Road to Hell as well the opinions of many Africans black and white who confirm this bias he may be right in this; I’m in no position to judge On the other hand he shows great sympathy for the white South African and formerly Rhodesian farmers who many of us would tend to view as being reactionary forces I wouldn’t be surprised if this book brought down upon Theroux’ swampy head a heap of anger – and indeed charges of out and out racismBut it’s not so simple because he also uite obviously has a deep love and respect for the old African societies he viewed so hopefully in his youth when he spent 3 years in the Peace Corp in Malawi and had during the years of his early friendship with VS Naipaul a Nigerian girlfriend He seems albeit in his wholly curmudgeonly way to be motivated not by race hatred but by an absence of white guilt – uite a different thing So when people shout out to him ‘Hey White Man” he gets fed up and says – “Hey you want me to call you ‘Hey Black Man’?” and people that is Blacks respond not surprisingly in a positive way to this bold assertion of his own rights to individuality People respect you when you respect yourselfTheroux is indeed uite the cosmopolites – fleeing the artificiality of the developed world in search of the authentic of the ‘noble savage’ if you will if such remains – and he is an experienced and exuberant libertine for all his protestations of restraint for whom there must have been than a little of the Richard Burton lurking in his wanderingsIs this racism? Well it is a slippery slope no doubtNor is Theroux an entirely admirable personality As a writer even at his best there is always something of the hack about him Some of the writing in Safari is particularly cheesy and his best works his travel writings I’ve never read the novels are largely based on a formula and gimmick His cynicism and the occasional mawkishness are well known And his history with Naipaul for all his self justifications Sir Vidia’s Shadow leaves something to be desired on BOTH sides it must be said in reading this late work pub in 2002 that Theroux is someone who seems to have grown and to have grown better and deeper and urgent which is not often the case with men women perhaps are different who are freuently diminished by success and by aging For all his flaws in other words Theroux has increasing been willing to look the beast the beast of his personal weaknesses of his mortality and of his love nay his lust for life a love ultimately doomed by the facts of nature directly in the eye And the result is a certain poignancy and beauty that is fully in evidence in this wonderful bookThis book is a redux Having lived and traveled long ago in Africa just during the period around Independence he decided to go again in 2001 or thereabouts and to travel alone without lots of money and without any entourage by bus train walking – each stage of the route dictated by chance – from one end of Africa Cairo Xto the other Cape Town along the Eastern half through Ethiopia Kenya Zimbabwe Uganda Malawai South Africa sleeping in cheap hotels or hovels on busted down rusty buses and trains basically ‘bumming thru’ Africa’ And this without a phone or blackberry not as a 25 year old or a 34 year old Great Railway Bazaar but at the age of 60 This was uite feat as those of you who are in your mere twenties will someday realizeAnd what he saw was that Africa so hopeful in 1972 has become ruinous Ruinous because of the effects of colonialization; because of the effects of freedom and corruption and the profound and dire incompetence of the Africans themselves; because of the AID agencies who build Dams and projects that no one will ever use instead of helping the Africans thatch their roofs; because of the stupidity both of modernity AND of those who will not be so easily modernizedHis description of the Grand Hotel in the town of Beira Mozambiue 347 a huge colonial skeletal structure facing the Indian Ocean decrepit “had been taken over by plunderers and invaders These homeless people were living in the guest rooms and had cooking fires going on the balconies and had rigged up tends on the verandas Some were emptying buckets of shit over the rails; their laundry hung limp on strong up lines The building was a vast crumbling pile of broken stucco and rusted railings filled with ragged suatters Smoke issued from most of the rooms I supposed that for some people this looked like the past but to me it had the haunted look of a desperate distant future an intimation of how the world would end the Third World luxury resorts turned into suatters’ camps” Cp the collapse and ruin of Mbeya in Tanzania at 270fOr the story of the Wagogo living in the hot dusted ruined plains of Tanzania 30 of them huddled under the shade of a single tree to escape from the blasted rays of the midday sun – but who never thought to escape from this simply to plant a few extra treesAt any rate – this is a powerful and moving book despite its flaws

  5. says:

    When Paul Theroux was a young manhe lived and taught in AfricaAfter thirty five yearshe returns to Africa for this travelogueHe starts off in Egyptdoing the rounds of the usual tourist attractionsIn Cairopeople don't see themselves as being part of AfricaAfrica to them is poorerunder developed and dangerousBut Paul Theroux is determined to traverse Africano matter how dangerous it may beHe manages to procure a Sudanese visawith considerable difficulty and thus begins his trip to the real AfricaAt that timethe US had dropped bombs on Sudanwhile trying to kill Osama Bin LadenIt didn't seem very safe for a lone American to be travelling in SudanHoweverthe people were friendly towards himHe got to see a vastunexplored country with pyramids of its own which had been damagedFrom therehe moved on to Ethiopia's capital Adis Ababawith its crumbling infrastructure and filthHe visited Harar in Ethiopiawhere he encountered open hostility from the localsGiven Africa's problemsTheroux likens it to a dark starWhile Kenya is famous for its safaris and wild animalsand has been romantacised by the likes of Hemingway and Isak DinesenTheroux's impressions are very differentIt is a dangerous and violent placewith lots of unemploymentcrime and banditsThenit's on to Ugandawhere he had lived in his youthIt's relatively stableTanzania is poorand travelling by train there is very unpleasantIn Zambiaeveryone seems to be infected with AIDsas girls as young as ten are forced into prostitutionMalawi is so poor that a person's annual income euals the cost of a meal at an American restaurantHe spends way too much time thererefreshing the memories of his youthThenhe goes to Mozambiuewith its years of civil war and abundance of land minesZimbabwe is nextwith its skyrocketing inflationthe repressive rule of Robert Mugabe and the forcible occupation of white farmers' farms by the blacksAfter that comes South Africaand despite being the most prosperous country in Africait is still crime infestedA look at the newspaper scares Therouxit is full of crime of the most vicious sort Cape Townunder Table Mountain has some of the most beautiful mansions and some of the most desperate suatter settlementsIt is a very long and grueling tripI almost found myself exhausted by the hardships he describeswhile travelling roughPrimitive accomodationdangerous placesbanditsdisease and the chance of getting killed on the roads by incompetent driversBut he braves it allThe journey doesn't end happilyhis valuables get stolen in South AfricaBreaking his return journey in Ethiopiahe gets African parasitesleaving him sick for monthsafter his return homeThe book began wellbut became rather boring in the later halfCould have used a fair bit of editingStillan entertaining adventureAnd as he writesthe best travel is a leap in the darkAnd there is no shortage of unpredictable adventures on this journey

  6. says:

    For me this is the best Paul Theroux that I have readIt was better in my opinion that his other travel non fiction The Great Railway Bazaar By Train Through Asia The Old Patagonian Express Riding the Iron Rooster By Train Through China and I think there are a couple of reasonsFirstly in Dark Star Safari the travel was not all by train This meant there was to write about In his other books which I also enjoyed don't get me wrong there is only so much he can describe about the train itself and the method of travel This book opened the door for descriptive writing about travel methodSecondly and probably importantly while Theroux was his usual pessimistic fault finding negative self he was being far accurate with his assessment of Africa What I mean is in other books where he tears into the people the places the culture they are often not all as bad as he makes them out to be In this book a lot often than not the situations he describes negatively are in fact pretty dire So this brings an accuracy to his pessimism Thirdly Theroux has an opinion which he spends a lot of the book discussing his premise that continued foreign aid in Africa has a negative effect rather than a positive effect and this lets him examine and re examine with examples this theory The fact I buy into this probably makes this book enjoyable for me as a readerSo to the book Theroux travels overland mostly there was a short ride in a small plane due to border difficulties from Cairo to Capetown He takes in Egypt Sudan Ethiopia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Malawi Mozambiue Zimbabwe and South Africa Some places he is visiting for the first time others he is returning to and has a frame of reference He spent time in Malawi in the Peace Corps and as a teacher in Uganda so has some comparisons to make thereAlong the way he makes literary references some involving people he knows and meets others purely by reference He also reconnected with people he knew from his previous time in Africa including the President of Uganda “I had some good friends really funny ones My best friend was a guy called Apolo Nsibambi We shared an office at the Extra Mural Department at Makerere and then I got a promotion became Acting Director and I was his boss I used to tease him for calling himself “Doctor” he had a Ph D in political science I mocked him for wearing a tie and carrying a briefcase and being pompous I went to his wedding He came to my wedding And then I completely lost touch with him I wonder what happened to him’ ‘Doctor Nsibambi is the Prime Minister of Uganda”All up one of the best books I have read this year Five stars

  7. says:

    Theroux is a pompous ass A just compelling enough pompous ass

  8. says:

    Near the end of Paul Theroux's north south journey across the African continent from Cairo to Cape Town he allows himself the luxury of a swanky South African train trip a rare mode of transportation for this usually spartan traveler in this fascinating trek on board cattle trucks minivans packed to the roof with Africans rickety matutus canoes and proper boats During a train stop a child begs in a prayerful way Theroux from the train can't bring himself to toss food to her After the train starts the girl flings stones through his window just missing him Such What do you do? moments in relation to charity are a big part of this journey for Theroux who as a white man is descended upon by Africans of every age almost everywhere he goes For the poor on the continent begging is a way of lifeOn a bigger scale attempts to help Africans help themselves through endless charity is counterproductive Money goes in the pockets of corrupt politicians aid is resold Foreigners had been helping them so long that Africans lost interest and motivationBut there's much to Theroux's travels than gripes about donor nations And on this safari it is people not animals Theroux seeks out Thirty five years after Theroux lived in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and teacher he returns in 2000 or thereabouts to find the continent worse off than he left it He finds countries poor and dangerous mean cities of little hopeTheroux's tale acuires dark momentum the closer he gets to the euator Starting out amid pyramids and Sudanese proving irresistible to European types We find Nubian banana he seeks people he knew from his Peace Corps days and ordinary strangers who have contempt for him because of the color of his skin or who want nothing than to go to America; people trying to take advantage of him or treating him with real kindness We do not love Theroux but we cannot help but admire his courage in often taking the most difficult route possible and for his sharp way with words His pace is leisurely; he doesn't have a schedule and his family doesn't know where he is He likes itTheroux covers many aspects of African life Waiting for a visa waiting for transportation In a place where time seemed to matter so little there existed a nihilism that was also a form of serenity and a survival skill; ancient infrastructure vehicles buildings That's what happened in Africa; things fell apart; dangerous types said to be around the bend 'There are bad people there' the direst warning heard time and time again; those trying to help with varying degrees of real commitment Aid workers are the last to offer travelers assistance; hopelessness of city life African cities became awful — desperate and dangerous — as they grew largerIt's not all hopeless the journey has its funny and uplifting moments and not all of Dark Star Safari is concerned with black Africans — there are white Africans too of course and the horrors of the government sanctioned seizure of white farmers' land in Zimbabwe and the brutal murder of whites and the frustrations of whites in the new South Africa who now live in a far just society but find themselves on the outside looking in are touched uponTheroux likes all this the grains of hope the beauty of Africa its contradictions and horrors I had fulfilled one of my fondest yearnings at the outset of my trip for this was the territory I lit out for and cruising down this empty river in a hollow log was pure Huck Finn pleasureIt's a pleasure for us too but an often disturbing one

  9. says:

    This book was a great read for a student of international developmentrelations I understand the author's cynicism admire his risktaking and appreciate his insight into the impact of decades of foreign intervention in Africa I didn't feel he was overly arrogant for a journey of this depth and magnitude; it certainly added to the story for better or worse It was an enjoyable read full of analysis rather than simply description

  10. says:

    Mayn This flipping book was an endlessly patronizing infinitely tedious rant from a burdened white man Perhaps the most annoying travel book I read GahTake 54 seats Paul Theroux I'd recommend Dark Continent My Black Arse if you're looking for a Cape to Cairo travelogue Infinitely betterEdit This article? This article right here is The Truth While the review is about The Last Train to Zona Verde My Ultimate African Safari it might as well have been reviewing this book ExcerptsAs Theroux watchers will know his sub Saharan travelogues read as if he had taken Binyavanga Wainaina’s sarcastic instructions on “How to Write About Africa” literally He is as the sharp eyed blog Africa Is a Country remarks “so reliable that way” He mints generalisations and insults at such a clip that they soon begin to outstrip even the most gifted parodistThe rhetoric is so offensive and plain bizarre to anyone making her or his life in “Africa” that I had no option but to pretend that we were in a different genre to keep imagining the book as a comic novel with a deliberately unlikeable narratorBankrupt in ways than one then this is a book I would recommend only as a teaching aid or to someone interested in tracking the final sub Conradian wreckage of a genre rusting away like the hulks of tanks that so fascinate the narrator along the roads in Angola It is imbued not just with the narrator’s old age but the senescence of an entire genre And there you have it Don't waste your money on this book

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