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Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China (1988)

por Paul Theroux

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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1,850359,186 (3.88)46
Describes the author's travels by train in every province of the People's Republic of China.
Adicionado recentemente porJackie9, DarthHusker, LTSandboxPelican, Tsuny, Bjorn_Roose, emmashannon, roberpd22
Bibliotecas LegadasJuice Leskinen
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Mostrando 1-5 de 35 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
First book I read by Theroux, which convinced me to read most of his other travel books. ( )
  sfj2 | Apr 26, 2024 |
For the younger generation he is the father of Louis. For the oldies he is the best travel author in the world. Actually he is both. He is a typical loner who loves to travel his own way and doesn’t like advice or rules from others. That makes him sometimes cynical, but always honest and open. If something resembles a tourist trap, he will avoid it or just say it isn’t worth it.

Several of his books have found their way on my bookshelves, also some of his fiction. Not bad either, but I certainly prefer his travel books. This story starts on a group journey from London through Paris, Berlin and Moscow towards Mongolia, the author already could have written a whole book about his trip and his fellow passengers before he actually enters China on page 66.

Theroux takes time to get to know a destination. He is not there to write an article, to see some highlights; he is there to understand a place, to get a feel for the country. This to me is the essence of travelling. Theroux will never be a tourist; he is the ultimate traveller. He even seems to read a bit of the language. Language is an important part of communication, to me an inevitable part. This is also the main reason that I have not travelled a lot in Asia. I love to be able to talk to locals in their own lingo. I can’t do that in bad English.

Therefore I’m quite pleased that Theroux does travel there, giving me the opportunity as an armchair traveller to follow his expedition through a country that is not high on my to-do list. China is a world on its own; it is quite difficult to say anything that goes for the entire country. The differences between city and country, between north and south, between east and west are huge.

Often did I return to page 10/11 to have a quick glance on the map, to see where Theroux was at the time. I like him travelling by train, as it does give the book more depth, it tells me a lot more about the Chinese compared to taking flights within the country.

Even though it took me ages to read the nearly 500 pages of this book, the book doesn’t get boring. It does get confusing at times though, but that is mainly because of my lack of knowledge before reading this book. There are cities in China bigger than most big cities I know, yet even though a few million people live there, I had never heard of the place and, dare admitting it, have since forgotten the name again.

Theroux is cynical at times, especially as he encounters the lack of liberty he likes. He gets chaperoned and is incredibly annoyed by that. I can imagine as well. Not sure how these days travelling in China goes, though in the eighties when he wrote this volume, the world had a completely different look, the political climate was a bit different from what we know these days.

Yet, even given the troubles he encounters wherever he goes, he makes the most of it and manages to get to know big parts of the country. His eye for detail, a great memory, everything he notes must be jotted down soon afterwards, makes this book a great read. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and hopefully will read many more travel book by Paul Theroux.

Quote: “Wanneer een land brulde dat het tot de laatste druppel bloed zou vechten, betekende dat meestal dat het op het punt stond zich over te geven; en in China kon je over het algemeen niets als waar beschouwen totdat het onkend was. Alles wat officieel ontkend werd, was waarschijnlijk waar.”

Quote: “When a country screams that it would fight until the last drop of blood, most of the time this means that it was at the point of surrender; in China nothing could be considered the truth until it had been denied. Everything that was officially denied was probably true.” (p. 136)
  privaterevolution | Mar 4, 2024 |
En 1986, Paul Theroux decidió viajar a China aprovechando un año sabático. Su instinto le decía que un país tan enorme sólo puede conocerse sin despegar los pies del suelo. Y se propuso atravesarlo viajando sólo en tren. De Mongolia a Pekín, de Pekín a Shanghai, de Shanghai a Cantón, y de allí hacia el norte y por todo el interior del país, Theroux recorrió miles de kilómetros. El resultado es un itinerario palpitante de detalles y anécdotas, en la mejor tradición de reportaje literario, que muestra sin tópicos ni folclorismos la realidad profunda de China.
  Natt90 | Jan 5, 2023 |
Otro ejemplar en la colecció Lis libros de Siete Leguas. SLTBL5
  JIGSoto | Mar 14, 2021 |
Ceuta, Junio 2002
  MOTORRINO | Dec 13, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 35 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
''Riding the Iron Rooster'' is Mr. Theroux's account of a journey that would drive most people insane. Traveling in China (which is different from living in China) for even a week can be exhausting; how he managed to do it for a year is beyond my comprehension. As one has come to expect of him, Mr. Theroux never wastes a word when re-creating his adventures. He is in top form as he describes the barren deserts of Mongolia and Xinjiang, the ice forests of Manchuria and the dry hills of Tibet. He captures their otherworldly, haunting appearances perfectly. He is also right on target when he talks about the ugliness of China's poorly planned, hastily built cities. But his book is mainly about Chinese people, and it appears that Mr. Theroux didn't like them much
adicionada por John_Vaughan | editarNY Times, Mark Salzman (Jul 19, 1988)

» Adicionar outros autores (13 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Theroux, Paulautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Davids, TinkeTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Een boer moet heel lang met zijn mond open op een heuvel staan voordat er een gebraden eend in vliegt.
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p 70 De chinezen zijn de laatsten ter wereld die nog kwispedoors maken, en kamerpotten, en trapnaaimachines, en beddepannen, en kroontjespennen (van staal, om in inkt te dopen), en houten hamen voor ossen, en ijzeren ploegen en omafietsen, en stoommachines, en de Packard van 1948 die zij de Rode Vlag noemen. Zij maken nog grootvadersklokken - van het mechanische soort met een kettingoverbrengen, die tik-tak zegt en bong!....de Chinezen hebben de eerste mechanische klok uitgevonden, tegen het eind van de Tang-dynastie. Als veel Chinese uitvindingen is dit in de vergetelheid geraakt, ze wisten niet meer dat ze dat konden en de klok werd vanuit Europa opnieuw ingevoerd. De Chinezen zijn de eersten geweest die gietijzer gemaakt hebben, en hebben korte tijd later de ijzeren ploeg uitgevonden. De Chinese metallurgen hebben de kruisboog uitgevonden in de vierde eeuw voor christus en gebruikten die nog steeds in 1895. Ze hebben als eersten gemerkt dat alle sneeuwvlokken zeskantig zijn. Ze hebben de parasol uitgevonden, de seismograaf, de lichtgevende verf, het spinnewiel, de passer, porselein, de toverlantaarn en de stinkbom.... Ze hebben de kettingpomp uitgevonden in de eerste eeuw na Christus en gebruiken die nog steeds. Ze hebben de eerste vlieger geconstrueerd tweeduizend jaar voordat eer een werd opgelaten in Europa. Ze hebben de losse drukletters uitgevonden en het eerste gedrukte boek gemaakt ...in 868. Ze hebben de eerste hangbrug gebouwd, en de eerst brug met een gesegmenteerde boog (de eerste, in 610 gebouwd, is nog steeds in gebruik). Ze hebben speelkaarten, rees voor hengels en whisky uitgevonden....De Chinezen waren de eerste zeelui ter wereld die een roer gebruikten, de mensen in het Westen stuurden met een roeispaan, totdat ze omstreeks 1100 het roer van de Chinezen overnamen. Het papiergeld, vuurwerk en de lak.....behangselpapier, toiletpapier... ZE hebben de eerste kruiwagens ontworpen, de beste zijn nooit in het Westen nagemaakt.. p 71
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Describes the author's travels by train in every province of the People's Republic of China.

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