Posted by: travelrat | March 3, 2019

Book Review: Around the World in 80 Trains

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Around the World in 80 Trains

Monisha Rajesh

Bloomsbury Publishing

Someone said the other day, there’s no such thing as travel writing any more. People write about destinations, he said, not travelling. I beg to differ. Monisha Rajesh’s Around the World in 80 Trains, and its predecessor, Around India in 80 Trains are both travel writing at its best.

If you’re looking for rides on heritage railways, or trains such as the Rocky Mountaineer, the Hiram Bingham or the Ghan, you won’t find them here, for these are purely tourist trains. Monisha rides the trains that ordinary people use, to go about their daily business. Yes, there are 80 of them, and yes, she does go all around the world.

On the way, she meets and talks to people, visits places and, above all, experiences them, both on the trains and off.

It’s a wonderful piece of narrative; you can just about hear the clickety-clack of the wheels over the rails as you’re reading it. First time I read it, I was on an aeroplane; I dozed off and dreamed I was on a train!

Regular readers of this blog may realise that I’m rather keen on trains myself, and find it difficult to write about them descriptively without sounding obsessive and nerdy. But, in both books, Monisha Rajesh has succeeded beautifully,


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