BOOKS: ELITIST ON A GRAND TOUR

PAUL THEROUX EXERCISES HIS MISANTHROPY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERence between tourists and travelers. Tourists know for certain where they are headed; travelers for the most part do not. By that standard, Paul Theroux is quintessentially a traveler. If serendipity were a god, he would be its most devoted acolyte.

In The Pillars of Hercules (Putnam; 509 pages; $27.50), Theroux records a grand tour of the Mediterranean, from Gibraltar to Tangier the long way around--that is to say, via the Spanish coast, Corsica, Albania and several points east, aboard wheezing buses, cranky trains and (once) a luxury cruise ship larded with rich Americans. Fans of previous...

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