In the travel-writing tradition that made Paul
Theroux"s reputation, Dark Star Safari is a rich and
insightful book whose itinerary is Africa, from
Cairo to Cape Town: down the Nile, through Sudan and
Ethiopia, to Kenya, Uganda, and ultimately to the
tip of South Africa. Going by train, dugout canoe,
"chicken bus," and cattle truck, Theroux passes
through some of the most beautiful — and often
life-threatening — landscapes on earth.
travel as discovery and also, in part, a sentimental
journey. Almost forty years ago, Theroux first went
to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now he
stops at his old school, sees former students,
revisits his African friends. He finds astonishing,
devastating changes wherever he goes. "Africa is
materially more decrepit than it was when I first
knew it," he writes, "hungrier, poorer, less
educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you
can"t tell the politicians from the witch doctors.
Not that Africa is one place. It is an assortment of
motley republics and seedy chiefdoms. I got sick, I
got stranded, but I was never bored. In fact, my
trip was a delight and a revelation."
Seeing firsthand what is happening across Africa,
Theroux is as obsessively curious and wittily
observant as always, and his readers will find
themselves on an epic and enlightening journey. Dark
Star Safari is one of his bravest and best books.