A travel book in which the author really gets to the heart of life in a particular part of the planet doesn’t come along every day. The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux is such a book. Paul Theroux first visited Africa as a twenty-two year old Peace Corps volunteer. This is the story of his return some fifty years later to explore a part of Africa that is seldom seen by visitors.
The book description gives us an insight into its content. “Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savanna, Theroux crosses “the Red Line” into a different Africa: “the improvised, slapped-together Africa of tumbled fences and cooking fires, of mud and thatch,” of heat and poverty, and of roadblocks, mobs, and anarchy.” Eventually Theroux shares with the reader the end of his journey in a chapter entitled “What am I doing here?”
Anyone looking for a summer read that’s out of the ordinary might like to try this book. It is available in several branches.