Through the Grinder

Graham Coster

  • The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean by Paul Theroux
    Hamish Hamilton, 523 pp, £17.50, November 1995, ISBN 0 241 13504 4

‘Are you making a trip here to write a book?’ inquires the manager as Paul Theroux books into a hotel in Corsica, 136 pages into his latest travel narrative. ‘I don’t know,’ replies the author. ‘It was the truth,’ he adds as an aside. ‘It was too early in my Mediterranean journey for me to tell whether it might be a book.’ From this most assiduous of travel-writers it is an unaccustomed admission. Theroux always finishes his journeys; always writes everything up. Completing the course, accomplishing the marathon challenge, is the point of the exercise.

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