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The Boston Globe


First Person


For his latest book, “The Last Train to Zona Verde,” Medford-bred author Paul Theroux returned to Africa but thought of home.

I first went to Africa 50 years ago, in 1963, when I JOINED THE PEACE CORPS. I wrote Dark Star Safari [2003] about a trip I took over land from Cairo to Cape Town. I decided to resume the trip in Cape Town and GO NORTH , UP TOWARD WEST AFRICA. I’d gone all the way down the right-hand side of Africa, and I wanted to go up the left-hand side.              

People think of Africa as widely scattered villages, but it’s really not. Because of insecurity — from militias, warlords, tyrannical governments — PEOPLE FEEL SAFER IN CITIES. And I thought: This is not the Africa I knew, an Africa that’s entirely urbanized. I really don’t like traveling in cities. I haven’t given up on Africa . . . but the experience has changed.               

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