"Suddenly the power came on, the dim lights in the hall and my couchette revealing a world of dirt. My mattress was so stained it looked like a bullet riddled soldier had died on it."
--What is good about Lunatic Express: Discovering the World . . . via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes by Carl Hoffman: vivid descriptions of traveling in the developing world, like this scene on a train in Africa.
"It was a cheap hotel -- thirty dollars -- but it seemed the most luxurious experience I could ever imagine. Yet a part of me wondered, imagining Ly in a noisy, cluttered home amid too many brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts, who was happier."
-- What is not so good about Lunatic Express: self pitying musings that make a mockery of the difficult conditions in which the people he meets actually live, like this one about an adult professional he met on that same train in Africa. Which one of them is "happier"? Give me a break. That's not a particularly relevant inquiry.
I just finished this book to review for the Internet Review of Books. Overall, I liked it quite a lot, despite lingering a bit much on his mid-life crisis.
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