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(12/06/2007) The Pillars Of Hercules: A Grand Tour Of The Mediterranean by Paul Theroux. New York. 1995. Putnam. keywords: Travel Literature Mediterranean. 511 pages. Jacket design by One Plus One Studio. Jacket photograph by R. Kord / H. Armstrong Roberts. 0399141081.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

  The journeys of Paul Theroux are the stuff of dreams and adventure; his wonderfully observant accounts of distant lands and seas have unlocked the mysteries of China, the islands of the South Pacific, the outer reaches of Siberia, and the far corners of Patagonia. Transported by Theroux’s marvelous storytelling, readers have been carried to places they may never visit, into exotic corners of the world where travelers are few and discovery is still possible. Now Paul Theroux has ventured to one of the most traveled places on earth, and returned with his most exhilarating, revealing, and eloquent travel book. In this modern version of the Grand Tour, Theroux sets off from Gibraltar, one of the fabled Pillars of Hercules, on a glorious journey around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a long, lively, occasionally dangerous, and endlessly fascinating trip, up the coast of Spain, along the Riviera, by ferry to the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and beyond-way beyond. By foot, train, bus, and cruise ship, Theroux travels around Italy and the Greek islands, to Albania in a state of near anarchy and to war-torn Croatia. He sails across an old sea of myths into Istanbul, its minarets, mosque domes, and obelisks beckoning him to the Levant. After hearing of Theroux’s onward itinerary, a Turkish shipmate murmurs, ‘Gechmis olsen!’ - May it be behind you! Ahead are Damascus and the remote villages of Syria, shrouded in the cult of Assad and his martyred son; Israel, besieged by suicide bombers; Egypt, where Theroux visits with Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, recovering from an assassination attempt. And past the hill that marks the southern Pillar of Hercules lie Morocco and Paul Bowles’ Tangier. Exploring coastlines as wild as anything he encountered in China or Peru, probing through layers of tradition and culture, ancient and modern tawdry and splendid, Theroux recalls the words of his predecessors - Homer, E Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Evelyn Waugh, Carlo Levi, Lawrence Durrell - and weaves the legends and siren calls of civilizations as old as time into a tantalizing story about life on the Mediterranean today His magnificent Grand Tour is an irresistible invitation to discovery enlightenment, and sheer entertainment.

Paul Theroux is the internationally acclaimed author of such travel books as THE HAPPY ISLES OF OCEANIA, RIDING THE IRON ROOSTER THE KINGDOM BY THE SEA, THE 0LD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS, and THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR. Among his many novels are THE MOSQUITO COAST, MY SECRET HISTORY, and MULROY THE MAGICIAN. He lives in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

 

 

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