EPUB BOOK The Pillars of Hercules A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean BY Paul Theroux – lavitamin.us
EPUB BOOK The Pillars of Hercules A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean BY Paul Theroux – lavitamin.us
I ll confess from the start that a travel memoir is just not my kind of thing and so I probably started reading this book rather resentfully I just so desperately wanted to be proved wrong Sadly I was not This book delved into the dull minutiae of his trip to the xtent that I was simply bored by it The book contained sweeping generalisations about the countries cultures and people he Desert Kings (Deathlands, encountered on his travels and there were no great insights that I could glean I suppose now is the time that I admit I only got half way through before getting so annoyed with the man that I threw the book across the room and declared I could not possibly take any This is just not for me In THE PILLARS OF HERCULES Paul Theroux travels a well trodden path for once and one which has perhaps beenxcessively romanticized in the past In contrast to many of the other regions of the world in which he has traveled and of which he has written the Mediterranean has a long literary history consisting of native writers and xpatriates alike In much of this book Theroux manages to skirt the most touristed regions of Mediterranea while seeking out the landmarks and icons some living of the literary Mediterranean In some ways THE PILLARS OF HERCULES is substantially different than any other travelogue published by TherouxIn other ways however this book remains true to the Theroux we have always loved or reviled How could it not be Theroux s acerbic pen has not lost its bite and his misanthropic self is as prominent a character in this book as it is in all his others Now however he is treading a sacred path one which for once may have been crossed by a substantial number of his readersBeginning in Gibraltar Theroux s plan is to circumnavigate the Mediterranean while remaining as close to the water s dge as possible The plan to stay within sight of the water sometimes causes Theroux or perhaps it provides the Exposed (Annika Bengtzon, excuse he needs to miss some of the popular locations of the Grand Tour yet it keeps him close to those who make their livelihoods at the shores of the great sea In one of the most traveled regions onarth Theroux manages to find those out of the way places not gems perhaps but surprisingly untouched by the tourist trade where we can really Ooko experience a sense of place and of cultureTHE PILLARS OF HERCULESnds up being a deeply satisfying work for those who love to travel in a vagabond manner though perhaps not for those whose travels consist of packaged tours and managed activity schedules and perhaps not as well for those possessed of Naked eternally sunny dispositions Whatever your travel preference I would strongly recommend this book to anyone pondering a Mediterranean vacation There is bound to be something interesting orntertaining here for anyone This is my fourth Paul Theroux travel book and the first one I am giving 3 stars instead of 4 I had high Shadow Scale (Seraphina, expectations and it fell somewhat flat Some parts Injoyed reading but others were really boring Paul wasn t Claim The Crown even sure if he wanted to write this book In his previous travel books Injoyed his journey through the Polynesian islands taking the railway from Boston across Latin America all the way down to Patagonia and his train journeys through China This time he travels along the Mediterranean coast skipping Lebanon Libya and Algeria a region which he said he had never set foot on but read a lot about His journey begins in Gibraltar and he travels along the coast of Spain and France to Mallorca Corsica Sardinia and Sicily Then he continues along the coast of Italy Slovenia and Croatia In the Nerds eastern Mediterranean his trip becomes a bit chaotic and he often has to trace his way back to Italy in order to reach other places The Yugoslavian War is waging during that timearly nineties and there are some places in the Arab world he was advised to not visit He talks a lot about the books he read of the country he has visited He meets some incredible authors like Naguib Mahfouz in Egypt and Paul Bowles in Morocco I was shocked to read that in the nineties many beaches of the Mediterranean were already littered I don t know if that is still the case or if there has been any improvement His favorite countries were Syria Tunisia and of course Italy because of the food He is uite lucky to have seen Syria before the Syrian War It made me sad thinking of how much the war with ISIS has destroyed very important historical places in Syria We really lost a lot there I got the feeling that he didn t like the touristy aspects of the Mediterranean which is why he was critical of the real In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, estate boom in coast Spain and Greece He also doesn t like welfare states He likes the less developed parts of the Mediterranean and avoided sightseeing which sometimes was impossible I remember when I read his book journey through the Polynesian Islands and through China Paul was sort of restless critical and very witty This time around he has calmed down and somewhat boringspecially the parts in Italy Maybe because he speaks Italian fluently the unexpected didn t hit him Or maybe it s because he blends in very well in Mediterranean society most people ignored him and nothing interesting happene. DAZZLING TimeTHEROUX'S WORK IS DISTINGUISHED BY A SPLENDID EYE FOR DETAIL AND THE TELLING GESTURE; a storyteller's sense of pacing and gift for granting closure to the most subtle progression of vents; and the graceful use of language We are delighted along with Theroux by the politeness of the Turks amazed by the mountainous highlands in Syria touched by the gesture of an Albanian waitress who will not let him pay for his modest meal Th.
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Ter another and interacting only with the people he randomly On Such a Full Sea encounters the proprietor of the he hotel others waiting for transport the lunatics who accost strangers in public places It s as if he s gone work to rule on filling this book contract He s signed a contract to write a book where he goes to all these places he s damned if he s going to do anything than he has to when he gets there Forxample he goes to Robert Graves home on Mallorca but tells the reader almost nothing about Graves who was one of the interesting authors of the 20th century What he does say about Graves is so telegraphic you d have to know a lot about Graves before reading it to understand it He throws off a one liner for Hello, Hippo! Goodbye, Bird! example about how Graves threw out his lover and found another White Goddess Theroux doesn t bother to meet with Graves children who were living in the house when he visitedither It would be one thing if this was because they had rejected a reuest to meet him but he admits he didn t Cannibal even bother to contact them LazyNote I did finish it and it got worse Once out of Western Europe Theroux sees what hexpects to see applying racial and national stereotypes to Mastered (The Enforcers, everyone he meets based on a phrase or two he overhears orlicits His antisemitism is pervasive and unpleasant and very familiar to anyone who lives in Massachusetts and knows people raised in the class he grew up in What is the most wearing and revealing about the author in this book is the way he continuously Man, Son of Man excoriates the other foreigners he meets for being tourists while flattering himself that he is a traveler Not once or twice butvery few pages The world to Theroux is infested with people who travel the same places he goes and Alter Ego enjoy them A lot of them turn out to be Germans who he loathes for reasons he considers so selfvident he doesn t share them with the reader Indeed as far as I ve read he s just left Croatia he s never actually brought any Germans to life with his pen but dozens of times he s used the term German in the same kind of tone most travelers save for bedbugs In short the once perceptive Theroux has become lazy and traveling has become a distasteful pursuit he must follow to arn the very comfortable living that lets him spend the rest of his time in Hawaii basking in his fame Paul Theroux is not a nice man It isn t nice to say that Albanians look retarded It isn t nice to point out that Greece is a welfare case sponging off the EU and milking a cultural legacy it has dishonored with its parochialism And it certainly isn t nice it is in fact downright impolitic and a bit sinister to take such obvious pleasure in despising IsraelisBut nice people as a rule don t write great travel books They write heartwarming tales full of spiritual uplift and multicultural group hugs Niceness complacent undiscriminating niceness is basically sluttish It smiles at stupidity and winks at injustice and consults its own comfort I don t know if The Pillars of Hercules is a great travel book but it s definitely an interesting one and that s saying something because the Mediterranean is the most overdone body of water in literature Theroux may be a hater but he s what Hazlitt used to call a good hater his hatred generously makes room for all kinds of odd passions and sudden sympathies If you really must travel and personally I think people should stay home and watch CSI Theroux s xample is as good as any Why do you bother to read travelogues Jeff1 Between working in the adult film industry and a stint for the Royal Canadian Mounties I traveled Uncommon Wisdom extensively as part of my job in international industrialspionage and it s always fun to read about places that I only saw at night while wearing a ski mask Travel tip A wool ski mask is Unseen City especially difficult in tropical weather2 It s always nice to get a uniue perspective on a time and place Theroux traveled around the Mediterranean in the mid 90 s when Yugoslavia was tearing itself apart but before the current crisis in Syria3 Travel humor is the best Bill Bryson s jabs are usually as subtle as using an anvil to crack a walnut whereas Theroux deftly uses his dry wit like a switchblade in an alley flight4 I like to learn about stuff You re never too old to handle a well lubed metric ton of info dump Theroux traveled from one pillar of Hercules all the way around to the other mixing history literary illusions random observation and hisxtensive knowledge of porn to make this one of his better travel books5 Not being much of an asshole it s nice to vicariously live via someone Art else s assholery Theroux wasspecially astute in his ability to harass the locals In Syria then under dictator Hafez al Assad this was God Is in the Crowd especially wince inducing For Bryson there s never a target too small or big for his juvenile brand of humor6 It s a nice place to visit but I wouldn t want to live there can be modified to It s a piss hole of a place and I will never set foot there in my lifetime Theroux finds the wonderful andually dreadful things Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard everywhere sometimes in the same locale7 Books are designed to take youlsewhere why not transport you to an actual journey through the The Matriarchs (The Family eyes of a skilled and gifted writer. Ist'sye and his portraits are pleasantly tinged with malice The Washington Post Book WorldTHEROUX AT HIS BEST An armchair trip with Theroux is sometimes dark but always a delight PlayboyAS SATISFYING AS A GLASS OF COOL WINE ON A DUSTY CALABRIAN AFTERNOON With his Notes for the Everlost effortless writing style observantye and take no prisoners approach Theroux is in top form chronicling this 18 month circuit of the Mediterranean Kirkus Reviews starred revie.
D Luckily the story picked up again when he took a luxury cruise ship across the Mediterranean first and then a Turkish cruise ship where he was the only foreigner on board That showed me his interesting side again and how he adapts and talks to people The people on both ships were such contrasts to When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) each other It is really the people who make the novel for Paul Remembering the Moroccan Jewish taxi driver in Haifa who complained about the Arabs but when he tagged along with Paul to visit an Arab Christian writer he was so touched by their hospitality and words I was also touched by the old woman in Croatia who was living in war but didn t want to take Paul s money for the coffee he had in her restaurant because they had a good conversation about life I had to travel here to find a token of generosity from a skinny woman in a cafe in a town full of shell holes in the shadow of a war Perhaps war was the reason notveryone was brutalized war made some people better Some other uotes from the book that I likedon what he looks for in books Originality humor subtlety The writing itself A sense of place A new way of seeing Lots of things I like to believe the things I read Look we are Croats but last year my father was robbed of almost five thousand US dollars in dinars and the robber was a Croat He laughed He was busily No Biggy! eating spaghetti Serbs are Protestants Croats are Catholics Bosnians are Mussulmens Me I can t understand Slovene or Montenegrin or Macedonian It is like French to me Bosnian and Serbian and Croat language are almost the same But we don t speak toach other any That was the strange thing about a tourist resort without tourists The town had been adapted for people who were not there The hotels looked haunted the restaurants and shops were Crush It! empty the beaches were neglected as a result and were littered and dirty Few of the shops sold anything that a native or a townie would be likely to need or could afford So the place was inhabited by real people butverything Attracting Birds to Your Backyard else about it seemed unrealAfter that whenever I read about troop maneuvers or politicians grandstanding or mortar attack on cities or the pettiness and terror of the war I thought about this skinny man and wifeach one holding a bag pushing their little boy down the uay at Split their starved faces turned to the Mediterranean waiting for the ferry to take them away from here Are you a religious person No I have no religion he said Religion is false Christian Muslim Jewish all false Why do you think that Because they cause trouble Don At his best Theroux is a lovable grump at his worst a poster person for whitepeoplesproblemsAt a certain point reading this book became an ordeal Can someone Deep Listening edit this man pleaseAnd by the way the portuguese saying he uotes near thend uando con Levante chiove las pedras muove isn t portuguese and rather a strange combination of spanish and italian funny he wouldn t notice since he keeps pointing out how fluent he is in italian which made me doubt very single turkish sentence writtenFor all his talk of wanting see real places and real people he really comes into his own surrounded by wealthy xcentrics in a luxurious cruise Theroux don t fight it dude You re just a white waspish snobbish man Just The Works of Saint Augustine embrace it Let me hear those cruise menus again I like Theroux I like his grouchy old man act and I like the books not a fan of the novels though This one isntertaining and informative and well written It s also another Unbuttoning the CEO (The Suits Undone example of a book written not so long ago at all but which thanks to the Internet gap seems to be from another world the author making phone calls to Honolulu in bars and being amazed at this forxample Reminded myself why I swore off of Theroux s travel books years ago Although I finished this one like the others it was not so much travel as a report on the four inches between his My Teacher Is a Robot ears while going to the ports of the Mediterranean Hoped to get a kind of update on many of the same places I had beenspecially in Turkey and was disappointed to get Theroux s Supper Club egotistical and misanthropic attitude towardsverything My recommendation avoid his travel books there are vastly palatable travel writers and stick to his fiction which isn t as larded with him Theroux amuses me I know that not Moanas New Friend (Disney Moana) everyone likes his sarcasm and that he is seemingly never content with where he is but then which great traveler isver contempt with where he is Isn t that why we travel I find him intelligent and Professional Capital entertaining and because I don t always agree with him he makes me look at the world in a new and interesting ways That he managed to do that when he wrote about Europe my home showsven what a great writer he isThe Pillars of Hercules is Seven Dwarfs Find a House (Disney Classic) everything you could want from a Theroux book Personally I liked The happy Isles of Oceania better but intellectually this is his best book so far I hope his new one is released soon I m about 13 the way through and yes he is one cranky old man and annoyingly full of himself This isn t anything new but in the past he was also a very good travel writer This alas is no longer trueIn this book he s become lazy He goes from place to place getting on one boat or train af. E Pillars of Hercules isngrossing and nlightening from start a damning account of tourists annoying the apes of Gibraltar to finish an utterly captivating visit with Paul Bowles in Tangier worth the price of the book all by itself Chicago TribuneENTERTAINING READING WHEN YOU READ THEROUX YOU'RE TRULY ON A TRIP The Boston Sunday GlobeHIS PICARESUE NARRATIVE IS STUDDED WITH SCENES THAT STICK IN THE MIND He looks at strangers with a novel.