Fans of previous Paul Theroux travelogues will relish some familiar ingredients in his latest (Putnam; 509 pages; $27.50), which records a grand tour of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Tangier. "For starters, there's his dazzling prose," writes TIME's John Elson, "which in a flick of a paragraph can shift from lowly growls of disgust to images of seascape with the allusive force of poetry." Also present is the lofty misanthropy of an elitist who can write off entire countries with the toss of an aphorism. "The whole of Greece," Theroux writes, "seemed to me a cut-price theme park of broken marble, a place where you were harangued in a high-minded way about Ancient Greek culture while some swarthy little person picked your pocket." Says Elson: "Theroux's ethnic snobbery is a tired act by now, but his eyes remain open to beauty as well as squalor."