Dark Star Safari is a travel book that takes readers on an epic journey through Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town. The author, Paul Theroux, travels by train, bus, ferry, and bush taxi, passing through some of the most beautiful and dangerous landscapes on earth. Along the way, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances, but also finds delight and revelation.
The book is a sentimental journey for Theroux, who first went to Africa almost forty years ago as a teacher in the Malawi bush. He stops at his old school, sees former students, and revisits his African friends.
However, he also finds astonishing and devastating changes wherever he goes. Africa is materially more decrepit than it was when he first knew it, hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, and more corrupt.
Despite the grim realities he encounters, Theroux’s book is never hopeless or dire. He remains wittily observant and endearingly irascible throughout his journey, providing readers with a rich and insightful account of his experiences.
What I Liked
I will read anything by Paul Theroux and Bill Bryson. They are both crochety old guys. But Theroux especially is master of observation, talking to people, and traveling in a way to truly understand a region and the people who live there. He’s also funny, direct, and interesting.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – excellent read. It’s still on my shelf to read again.